France: Significant promises kept, but the most crucial reforms will take time

One year on from his election victory the French president has already lived up to some of his campaign promises, most visibly regarding labour market regulation and taxation, actions that have generally been welcomed by international financial commentators.

More reforms are planned and will probably be (at least partially) implemented during the rest of the presidential mandate, even though resistance, weak until now, may build up and the political and economic backdrop may become less favourable than it has been so far.

These reforms, a combination of supply-side and flexi-security policies, should play positively on the key economic measures of growth and unemployment. However, they may not be enough to stem, in the long term, the rise of radical political forces, the main medium-term threat to institutions in France as in other European countries.

Facing this challenge will probably also require major changes focused on the goods and services markets, especially to remedy sharp inequalities between territories. While work has begun on a number of such measures that were sketched out in E. Macron’s manifesto, they are more difficult to follow by international investors and the real extent of changes that can be expected remains very uncertain.

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