Emmanuel Macron – highly intelligent but arrogant
04/10/2022, 2:25 p.m
France’s president is taking Europe further than almost anyone else in recent years – although the high-flyer likes to make decisions alone. Macron can talk for hours without having to search for words or facts. However, the 44-year-old cannot get rid of one flaw.
In his only major campaign appearance, Emmanuel Macron stood alone on a platform shaped like a hexagon – like the country he has ruled for the past five years. It was a telling picture for the 44-year-old president, who is running for re-election and has a reputation for being above things and making many decisions on his own.
Five years ago he had come into office like a whirlwind – young, bright as a flash, breaking political camps, without ever having been elected to office. He was a high-flyer who always liked to defy convention and felt comfortable on any stage.
That was already the case when, as a teenager, he fell in love with the director of the theater group at his school. Against all odds, he married Brigitte, who was 24 years his senior, and they form an extraordinary couple to this day. Brigitte’s grandchildren proudly held up posters with the slogan “Daddy – President” when he appeared in front of supporters.
Sideburns have turned gray
The first mandate left its mark, forehead wrinkles and graying sideburns that Macron likes to wear a little too long. He began his term of office in May 2017 in front of the Louvre to the sounds of the European anthem and poached the right and left alike for his first cabinet.
He quickly conquered his place on the international stage, practicing hand-squeezing with then-US President Donald Trump and trying to impress Russian President Vladimir Putin with pomp and pomp at Versailles. Domestically, he quickly pushed through reforms of the labor market, the railways and the universities. Pension reform, on the other hand, has met with so much opposition that the pandemic has provided a welcome opportunity to put it on hold.
The reforms are now bearing fruit and unemployment has fallen significantly. Thanks to government support based on Macron’s motto “Whatever the cost,” the economy is doing better than feared.
Abused as the “President of the Rich”.
In terms of foreign policy, he advanced Europe like no other during this time. Even Chancellor Angela Merkel, who was allergic to joint debts, finally agreed to a generous Corona reconstruction fund. The Ukraine war gave Macron’s call for a common defense an unexpectedly dramatic topicality. At times, Macron was the only Western politician who kept in touch with Putin and tried to negotiate with him for hours – albeit in vain.
In addition, the withdrawal of the French soldiers from Mali and the extensive failure of the mission there received little attention. Macron’s climate policy, which he initially advocated with passion, is also considered a flop. He has fallen too far short of his promises. It sounded shocking to many Germans when Macron announced the construction of up to 14 new nuclear power plants. In the meantime, however, Germany is looking enviously at France, since the neighboring country can do without Russian gas and oil much more easily.
One of Macron’s greatest weaknesses is certainly the image of the aloof politician. The yellow vests had insulted him as the “president of the rich”. The protest movement against the high cost of living kept the country in suspense in 2018 with demonstrations and riots.
The dissatisfied, the left behind, the losers from globalization – Macron hardly has a chance with all these people. Again and again he offends with arrogant remarks, even if he then promises to improve each time.
He is not afraid to seek direct contact with people, which regularly makes his security guards nervous. And his stamina is legendary – whether it’s the citizens’ talks after the yellow vest crisis or his rare press conferences: Macron can talk for hours without even having to search for words or facts.
He will get his next opportunity when he faces the probable runoff of right-wing populist Marine Le Pen. However, this time it should be better prepared than in 2017. And according to the surveys, it looks like the result could end up being very close.