President Emmanuel Macron’s honeymoon with France is apparently over. It’s been less than three months since the French elected the energetic, image-conscious president, but already, his approval numbers have dropped, probably as a result of his announcing of budget cuts, making controversial plans for labor reform and engaging in a nasty dispute with the military.
Just a short two months ago, Macron was being credited with giving France a boost of confidence after years of security fears and economic stagnation. However, the French are now seeing their new president as power-hungry and inexperienced.
A series of opinion polls last week showed that French citizens are no longer satisfied with Macron’s policies and don’t have an enduring trust in their young leader’s ability to deal with the country’s problems. The reversal may mean nothing on the international scene, but in France, Macron’s waning popularity could damage his ability to pursue his aggressive domestic agenda.
According to France’s Ifop polling agency, “Apart from Jacques Chirac in July 1995, a newly elected president has never seen his popularity rate falling as quickly during the summer after the election.”
Four polls over the past week showed Macron’s support down sharply from earlier surveys, though each one measured popularity differently. The polls by Ifop, Harris Interactive, YouGov, and Elabe showed between 36 and 54 percent of respondents with positive views of Macron’s presidency, a decline from previous gauges of public opinion that also had shown his approval ratings down since he won 66 percent of the vote in the May election.
Reuters reported last month that Macron said he wants to rule as a “Jupiterian” president – as a “remote, dignified figure, like the Roman god of gods, who weighs his rare pronouncements carefully.”
Just days earlier to the report, Macron failed to hold a traditional press conference, saying his thoughts are “too complex” for journalists. His spokesman said Macron’s “complex thought process lends itself badly to the game of question-and-answer with journalists.” The action drew outrage and mockery from the French press.
During President Donald Trump’s visit in France earlier in July, he and French President Emmanuel Macron discussed the Paris Climate Agreement, which the U.S. pulled out of. In an interview with French newspaper Journal du Dimanche, Macron reports that he explained his position and discussed a future agreement that might include the U.S. He also says he charmed Trump into agreeing to stay open minded.
Macron is an avid supporter of the Paris Climate Agreement, and voiced his disappointment when President Trump decided to withdraw from the multi-national deal two months ago during Trump’s first trip to Europe.
In Sunday’s Journal du Dimanche, Macron said during his discussion with Trump, he felt the U.S. president “understood” his position on the issue. According to Macron, President Trump said he would work over the coming months to “try to find a solution.”
“We spoke in detail about what could allow him to return to the Paris deal,” Macron reportedly said.
Of course, this won’t be the case, since Trump handed in the paperwork earlier this week to officially pull out.
Congratulations, people of France. This is your new President. Have fun.
— Paula R (@r_P131) July 4, 2017
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