France: President Emmanuel Macron  

Despite being a novice politician, Emmanuel Macron beat out rival Marie le Pen to capture the presidency in 2017.  Macron enjoyed widespread, multipartisan support in the 2017 election thanks to his position as a centrist alternative in a campaign populated by far left and far right candidates.  Macron’s success established him both as the first French president to win without the backing of an established national political party, and the country’s youngest president to date.  Over the course of his campaign, Macron maintained a staunchly centrist, mostly status quo platform; however, he was vocal about his intention to fight international terrorism and uphold law and order.  To this end he vowed to increase defense spending and institute a special task force to combat ISIS.  Macron also voiced his intention to boost French’s flagging economy, and reform welfare and pension policies.  This vow is inline with his stint as the French Economy Minister, during which he instituted a number of pro-market policies, including Macron’s Law.

Immediately upon taking office Macron faced a shifting regional and global stage.  In the European Union, Brexit continued to send shockwaves through E.U. member states.  Internationally, Trump’s erratic behavior and reneging on multilateral agreements, like the Paris Climate Agreement, has fostered uncertainty across the world.  Macron has responded to these challenges by pushing France to become a world leader.  He staunchly supports the single bloc market of the European Union, going so far as to draft a proposed common Eurozone budget.  He has also announced his intention to fill the United Kingdom’s shoes as a regional leader. In response to Trump’s refusal to sign the Paris Climate Agreement, Macron declared France the new homeland of climate change scientists.  Domestically, Macron aims to implement economic reform, beginning with France’s fiscal deficit.  He has decreased fiscal spending on public services and cut some government jobs. Macron opines that cutting jobs will free up France’s beleaguered labor market.  Macron has also implemented tougher immigration policies, increasing the speed of deportation proceedings and limiting further the number of accepted asylum seekers. This policy, as well as his cuts to fiscal spending, has been met with disapproval and protests at home.

Leading up to the G7 Summit, Macron urged other members of the G7 to fight back against Trump’s trade policies.  While the French president and U.S. president once shared a close relationship, these relations turned hostile following certain policy changes made by Trump.  Macron has called Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs a shift towards U.S. hegemony.  Macron has signaled to Trudeau that he would assist in creating a statement signed by all seven members, however that it is more important to focus on the subject of the statement, rather than simply focusing on whether or not Trump signs it.  He has called this possibility a “G6 plus one” outcome. Macron announced that he would not sign the G7 statement without concessions from Trump. Macron voiced his goal to focus on the Paris Climate Agreement and the Iran Nuclear Deal in addition to tariffs and trade policy. Following discussions between Macron and Trump, Macron noted that it was an open discussion and “things were moving forward.”

As the G20 Summit focuses on the global economy, Macron will likely continue discussions on trade. Similar to many other leaders, Macron has and continues to advocate for multilateral trade and an open, global economy that would benefit all. Last year at the G20 Summit in Hamburg, Macron made a statement that he has “not given up trying to get U.S. counterpart Donald Trump to change his mind about withdrawing the United States from the Paris climate change agreement.” The G20 Summit last year strongly showed the divide between the United States and the other G20 leaders regarding environmental policy. Climate change is expected to be another central theme of this year’s summit and a central theme of Macron’s agenda.

“Our democracies must be strong standing up to terrorism… But at the same time our democracies must completely protect the rule of law.”       

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