France in 2021: growing crises make recovery uncertain | Item

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Political risks

Nevertheless, it is not certain that President Macron and his government will dare to opt for an extension of the lockout for the entire month of December. Indeed, public support for the measures has fallen sharply since the spring. Clearly, they are difficult to accept and “corona fatigue” is felt. There is also anger over the closing of small shops which are considered non-essential while all schools remain open and workers continue to visit their workplaces.

France faces three crises at the same time

Politically, the situation is very complicated for French officials. Social unrest could be on the horizon, reminding Macron of the painful period of “yellow vests”. France is facing three crises at the same time: a health crisis, an economic crisis, caused by Covid-19, and a security crisis given the various attacks that have taken place on French territory in recent weeks.

It is a difficult time for Macron given that he is nearing the end of his presidential term and that he will begin, in 2021, his re-election campaign the following year. The current situation does not give him much chance to progress on the major reforms he has promised, in particular on pensions and public governance. The only advantage for him at the moment is that no other presidential candidate seems able to show that he could have handled the health crisis better.

Currently, polls predict a draw between Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen, far-right, for the next presidential election. Given the very complicated security context, Macron will have to appeal to right-wing voters, otherwise they risk being drawn to Le Pen, while being seen as not abandoning left-wing voters. It’s a decidedly delicate balance, not least because there is so little certainty about next year’s economic recovery.

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