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Macron is doing for France what Thatcher did for UK

France Business 2017/10/16 at 12:11 PM

At first blush, they have little in common.

Emmanuel Macron is the precocious, energetic, liberal, newly elected French President.

Margaret Thatcher was Britain’s daunting, uncompromising Conservative prime minister during the 1980s.

But while their style and their politics may be poles apart, they both share a zeal for radical economic reform. And with Mr Macron poised to push through a host of domestic reforms, there is much to compare with the overhaul Mrs Thatcher wrought on Britain’s unions and industry.

Mr Macron launched the second round of his ambitious reforms to France’s labour market this week, by gathering business leaders and trade unionists for talks about overhauling unemployment benefits. It follows his summer changes to French labour law, and marks the next stage of what he calls the “transformation” of the French social model.

Among the measures proposed are a paring down of France’s generous unemployment benefits, while boosting state-funded training to help pull the jobless back into the workplace. The reforms will make hiring and firing easier. Most far reaching: some workplace issues will be negotiated at company level, bypassing the national union branch.

Leo Sendrowicz



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