Analyse and essay
After a virtually faultless first year in office, French President Emmanuel Macron has faced more difficult times in recent months. Admittedly, his speeches are as eloquent as ever—about the international order, about France, and about Europe—and he is still much appreciated worldwide as the defender of multilateralism (at the United Nations), of the environment (recently awarded “champion of the Earth”), and of economic righteousness (the International Monetary Fund and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development welcome his market-liberal proposed reforms). Nevertheless, “his people,” as he likes to refer to his fellow citizens in the foreign media, seem today distinctly lacking enthusiasm.
Macron’s popularity rating has plummeted below 30%, compared with the 64% favorable opinion in the election’s aftermath. Part of this drop can be attributed to what he prefers to brush off as “minor mishaps,” namely personnel issues, unlucky timing, and unfortunate remarks. They are nonetheless, in the eyes of the public, the reflection of a deeper problem. A malaise is growing in which questions about the personality of the president are now closely intertwined with criticism of his policies.