Macron’s approval ratings recently hit an all time low of 36 per cent in France. That’s a drop of 13 per cent since his election. Is this because he is beginning to hit the right spots, getting on the nerves of people who thought he won’t touch them and actually doing what he promised he will do? Let´s have a look at that.
Tackling hidden European problems
The Polish newspaper, Gazeta Wyborcza, recently reported that Emmanuel Macron is pushing ahead with one of his campaign promises, which is to end the system of ‘posted workers’ in the EU. A “posted worker” is an employee who is sent by his/ her employer to carry out a service in another EU Member State on a temporary basis. Council Directive 96/71/EC defines a posted worker as a ‘person who, for a limited period of time, carries out his or her work in the territory of an EU Member State other than the State in which he or she normally works’.
In some cases, a posted worker can be people who are officially employed in a cheaper eastern member state for example, and thus receiving the local salary and benefits, but then posted to a richer western country, where native workers complain they are being undercut.
Macron is planning to visit the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Romania in the next few weeks where he plans to raise this issue. But he is not visiting Poland – the region’s biggest country and the largest supplier of posted workers in the EU (460,000 of them in 2016) – as well as Hungary, another perceived EU trouble-maker.
Should Macron succeed in bringing an end to the current posted-worker system, a large number of Polish companies providing such employees could go under and thus the taxes and social contribution paid by such workers in Poland will end. This could cost the Polish state a few hundred million zloty a month, Wyborcza estimates.
Last week, Mateusz Morawiecki, Poland’s finance minister, warned that Macron’s plans contradict the EU’s four freedoms, and hinted that if France tries to tackle this ‘social dumping’, Poland might have to do something about ‘corporate dumping’, whereby western companies operate in Eastern member states without paying their fair share of tax.
But I believe that this actually what Macron is trying to do which is to tackle both issues at once, because both of these issues are a big problem for EU states who are voicing their objections, but no one is really doing something against it. The EU is already on the way to tackle corporate tax avoiders like Apple and Google, but the problems resulting from different wages in the EU and the loop hole of a posted workforce are well known, yet so far, no one is really addressing them until now.
Marcon is also calling for a revival of of the French-German leadership machine of the EU and is believed to be pushing Angela Merkel to issue new statements regarding the Eunion establishing a common budget and appointing a finance minister – what I would call a little sensational.
He is also pushing through long needed reforms of workers rights and the labour market in France, which means that he will make no friends in the mighty French Unions, even though they know all very well that these reforms are necessary to compete on the international markets.
His new laws regarding the employment of family members of French politicians and officials brought him a petition signed by 300.000 people. The petition was asking to give no official position to First Lady, Brigitte Macron and to comply with these new laws, when all he intended was to clarify for once and for all, the position of a First Lady in France as it has been a messy and never officially declared post for a long times.
A lot of his nominated cabinet members have recently resigned because they wanted to avoid the touch of hypocrisy for Macron’s new Government as they have been accused of facilitating family members in employment themselves. It was an open secret that this was a usual practice as well, despite outrage from time to time, but no one really did something against it.
Macron is not afraid to touch the hot irons and to get some scars while he is doing what he promised during his campaign and it almost seems that he cares little about public image and much more about results. Reading through recent articles on him in several newspapers and online media describing that he is `under pressure`only made me smile.
Unlike many false promises uttered by politicians, Macron is actually living up to the slogan, “en marche”.