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HomeNewsScience and SpaceAs the election approaches, the specter of inflation threatens Macron's economic progress

As the election approaches, the specter of inflation threatens Macron’s economic progress

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In Science and Space: As French President Emmanuel Macron seeks a second term in office, he risks high inflation eroding the economic gains he made during his presidency. In 2017, Mr Macron pledged to implement business-friendly reforms and reopen the eurozone’s second-largest economy by cutting taxes, easing labor laws and aggressively marketing France to foreign investors. was elected. Although his early reforms sparked violent anti-government “yellow vest” protests in late 2018, Macron can point to many indicators that his reform efforts are paying off.

Strong growth along with labour reforms to make hiring and firing easier have helped push France’s stubbornly high unemployment to the lowest level since the start of the 2008 global financial crisis. More remarkably, youth unemployment – a bane of Macron’s predecessors for decades – has come down even faster as his government ramped up apprenticeship programmes and incentives to hire young people.
INFLATION Record high inflation across the euro zone has left Macron’s government increasingly at pains to convince voters that its cocktail of growth, tax cuts and targeted payouts to people on low incomes is translating into real purchasing power gains.

Polls show Mr Macron is likely to win the first round of elections on Sunday. But far-right leader Marine Le Pen is making a comeback in the polls, and a race between his two front-runners for the April 24th runoff is drawing near. During his presidency, France’s economy outperformed other big European countries as well as the broader euro zone, bouncing back from the worst of the COVID crisis with the strongest growth in more than five decades.

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To keep those gains from evaporating, France put together a more than 25 billion euro ($27.6 billion) package of measures to soften the blow of an energy price-fuelled inflation spike. Costly hikes in gas and electricity prices have kept France’s inflation rate lower than in most other eurozone countries, but President Macron’s rivals are capitalizing on voter frustration over declining spending power. A spike in inflation has clouded the economic record, suggesting that France has otherwise become more open to business during Macron’s presidency.

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