Fragility and Rule of Law in France
The recent reelection of President Emmanuel Macron saw Macron win 58.5% of the votes defeating runner-up Marine Le Pen. In his coming term as president, Emmanuel Macron must “pursue policies that make human rights a reality for all” according to the Human Rights Watch France Director Benedicte Jeannerod. This means that Macron must take the next necessary steps to progress human rights policies and provide greater protection to the rule of law in France.

Rule of Law in the European Union

The rule of law ensures that all rights and laws of society receive thorough protection and respect within a government. As a member of the European Union, it is necessary for France to protect and respect the laws and rights of the state through active promotion. Article 2 of the Treaty on the European Union (TEU) illustrates that “the Union is founded on the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities.” There are three ways that France will progress human rights through the rule of law both abroad and domestically in order to contribute to poverty eradication.

The Promotion of Equality Between Men and Women

Macron has pledged the promotion of equality between men and women as a part of this coming campaign’s wish list which will directly impact the poverty rates of France. According to The Break Poverty Foundation, single-parent families represent a large portion of the French family population and that population maintains “35% [that are] poor” as of 2016. The organization’s website states that “When the head of the family is an inactive woman (which is the case for 49% of these families), poverty rates escalate to 71%.” In order to alleviate these high rates of poverty that exist as a part of inequality, Macron has begun the repositioning of salary inequality in order to mitigate compensation discrimination.

Salary equality in France is also in a dire position. According to The French Brief article from April 2021, “men earn 28.5% more than women.” Macron has committed to bridging this inequality as one of his major campaign promises.

Macron’s Presidential Promises

A pro-business leader, Macron spent his first campaign for the presidency with promises to overhaul the French welfare system and aid in cutting public spending. Macron’s second term as president should see these promises intensified, which would directly work towards benefitting the impoverished.

Macron could achieve his desire to raise the pension age as well as cut taxes for households and businesses through a gradual increase in the pension age from 62 to 65, which is similar to Germany and the United Kingdom. Macron also aims to overhaul unemployment benefits in order to incentivize people to reenter the workforce. This should help Macron achieve his previous term promise of cutting spending in order to keep the budget within the EU deficit target spending.

Macron’s policy changes bring the possibility of further strengthening the French economy by keeping people employed longer allowing citizens to accumulate more social security benefits and pension credits. According to the Urban Institute, “By working until age 67 instead of retiring at age 62, for example, a typical worker could gain about $10,000 in annual income at age 75, significantly reducing the likelihood of falling into poverty at older ages.”

Poverty Rates in France

Macron’s recent campaign has put a large sense of importance placed upon education and training for his second term where he has announced the education of 1 million people in the ‘professions of the future.’

In France, “the unemployed appear to be the most at risk of poverty” according to Break Poverty. Break Poverty also found that the population that is employed has “18% of workers and employees” living in poverty.

Part of Macron’s proposal will see 400,000 people trained in engineering over the course of his next term of the presidency as well as 20,000 people recruited for the purpose of bridging a digital divide that currently exists that would lend support to those that are in need of mastering digital instruments.

Looking Ahead Regarding the Rule of Law in France and Poverty

The rule of law in any country exists in order to preserve and promote accountability of law and order. Macron has shown a commitment to the rule of law in France by promoting gender equality, preserving France’s economic health and creating an educated/trained workforce that will move France’s impoverished towards better financial security.

Rachel Steen
Photo: Flickr