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Macron counting on strong French economy and new jobs ahead of election

FILE PHOTO: French President Emmanuel Macron delivers a speech during a presentation of the traditional epiphany cake at the Elysee Palace, in Paris, France January 12, 2022. Ludovic Marin/Pool via REUTERS

President Emmanuel Macron will announce 21 new foreign investment projects in France and a growing economy on Monday, less than three months before a presidential election in which he is expected to run, as proof that his economic reforms are paying off.

The news: Macron will launch a 300-million-euro ($342 million) industrial project by German chemical giant BASF during a visit to Alsace in the east, one of 21 new projects totalling 4 billion euros and 10,000 jobs as part of a drive to woo foreign investors, according to his office.

  • Pfizer, a pharmaceutical company based in the United States, announced a 520-million-euro investment plan in France on Monday.
  • As the presidential campaign heats up, Macron’s aides are eager to move the focus away from immigration and law-and-order concerns and toward the economy, which has made a remarkable recovery since the COVID-19 outbreak.
FILE PHOTO: Cranes are seen at a closed construction site of extension buildings on the banks of the Seine River in Paris, during a lockdown imposed to slow the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Paris, France April 8, 2020. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

What’s going on: Since 2017, Macron has pushed through a slew of supply-side changes aimed at increasing corporate competitiveness, lowering investment taxes, and loosening labour market regulations.

  • Critics accuse him of acting as a “president of the rich” who wants to eliminate France’s cherished social safety nets and decrease welfare benefits for the poorest.
  • However, three months before the April election, statistics show that the French economy is growing, with growth forecast to reach 6.7 per cent in 2021 and France returning to pre-pandemic levels faster than any other G7 country except the US.
  • On Friday, economist Paul Krugman gave an unexpected boost to Macron fans. In his New York Times column, he stated, ” In fact, among major advanced economies, the star performer of the pandemic era, arguably, is … France.”

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