INTERNATIONAL.- In just one year as France’s president, Emmanuel Macron has emerged as a key world player, speaking up for Europe and Western democratic values and striking a surprise friendship with Donald Trump. But Macron has made his biggest impact — and his biggest enemies — at home.
Strikes and protests over his economic reforms have dominated the French landscape in recent weeks, and tens of thousands held a “party” Saturday to share their anger at Macron’s first year in office.
Many fear he is trading the French way of life for a profit-focused, Americanstyle worldview. Both critics and fans agree that Macron’s France has a different feel from the country that handed him the presidency on May 7, 2017.
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Then a 39-year-old newcomer to politics, Macron helped stem a global tide of populism by beating anti-immigrant, far-right candidate Marine Le Pen with his strong pro-European, pro-free market convictions.
Macron wasted no time in pushing through changes to France’s strict labor rules and raising the country’s international profile.
He has emerged as Europe’s leading spokesman — and was the first world leader to be hosted at a state dinner in Washington by Trump last month. In a speech to the U.S. Congress, Macron laid out a firm vision of global leadership, carrying the torch for a rules-based international system of freedoms, free markets and democratic governance that Western nations have championed since World War II.