Paris (AFP) – Emmanuel Macron, France’s president-in-waiting after a resounding poll victory Sunday, campaigned on a platform that combined unstinting support for the EU with tax cuts for business and a pledge to maintain the country’s social safety net.
Following are key points in his manifesto:
- Europe –
With the European Union under attack from eurosceptics and populists, Macron made support of the EU the cornerstone of his campaign.
The 39-year-old former banker and economy minister wants to bolster the eurozone by setting up a separate budget for the 19 countries that use the common currency. He would also give the zone its own parliament and finance minister.
Macron also wants Europe to strengthen its external frontiers by setting up a common border force, pool more of its defence forces, and impose higher tariffs to protect European industry from unfair competition, particularly China.
- Immigration –
Immigration and integration by France’s Muslim minority became a hot political issue after a string of jihadist attacks that have killed more than 230 people since January 2015.
Macron has ruled out tougher laws on religious garb. He has championed diversity and vowed to give tax breaks to companies that hire young people from tough predominantly immigrant neighbourhoods.
He has also pledged to speed up processing asylum requests and praised German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s for allowing over a million migrants from the Middle East and Africa into Germany in the past two years.
- Tax –
Macron has pledged to reduce taxation on companies from 33.3 percent to the European average of 25 percent. He also wants a three-year suspension of residents’ taxes for 80 percent of French households.
He has also promised to revise France’s so-called wealth tax on people with more than 1.3 million euros ($1.4 million) in assets, so that it excludes financial assets.
- Labour and retirement –
Macron has said he will keep France’s official 35-hour work week, give bosses more freedom to negotiate working time directly with staff at the company level.
France also faces a crunch over funding retirement. The current minimum age for most people is 62. Macron wants to maintain this but unify the complex web of retirement rules for various public and private-sector employees.
He also wants to give the self-employed access to unemployment benefits but suspend benefits for qualified workers who refuse two “decent” job offers.
To rein in France’s budget deficit, Macron wants to cut 120,000 jobs in the civil service, although hospitals would be spared, while also creating 10,000 police jobs and 4,000 to 5,000 teaching posts.
- Energy, education, family –
Macron has pledged to cut France’s reliance on nuclear energy to 50 percent of its total electricity needs by 2025, from about 75 percent now.
He wants to give schools more autonomy in terms of hiring and cut primary school class sizes in half in low-achieving and poor areas.
He would also ban the use of cellphones in elementary schools.
<figure><figcaption>Emmanuel Macron, seen here casting his ballot in Sunday's election, is a centrist who ran a pro-business and pro-EU campaign <span>Copyright POOL/AFP Christophe Ena</span> </figcaption></figure>