When France went to the polls to vote for its new president on May 7, the race was billed as a battle between a political centrist, En Marche! candidate Emmanuel Macron, and an extreme right populist, Front National candidate Marine Le Pen.
On that day, Macron won in a landslide, picking up votes on the left and right, to become France’s youngest-ever president.
In the days and weeks since the election, Macron has proven to be a progressive, moderating force in international politics — standing up for the Paris agreement despite opposition from US President Donald Trump and extending his condolences to the victims of multiple terrorist attacks in neighboring Britain.
His slogan in the aftermath of the US decision to leave the Paris agreement, “Make Our Planet Great Again,” caught international attention not only for its clear reference to Trump’s campaign slogan, but also for its accuracy.
First as candidate and now as president, Macron has proposed policies focused on bringing France into the 21st century, be that in fighting against climate change, or fighting for gender equality, in health care or education policy.
President Macron is a true Global Citizen, and here are seven times he showed his commitment to Global Citizen’s core principles.
Women & Girls: When he filled half his cabinet with women.
On May 16, Macron announced his new cabinet picks and half of them (11 of 22) were women. Macron has been vocal about the unequal gender distribution in French politics, saying in January, “Women currently represent 53% of the electoral body, so it’s unacceptable that they make up less than 30% of those elected to the National Assembly.”
He has also pointed out the hypocrisy of media coverage of his wife, which has focused more on her age (she is 24 years his elder) than her character.
Environment: When he vowed to make our planet great again.
After US President Donald Trump announced the United States would leave the Paris Agreement, a landmark international accord on climate change signed onto by every country outside of Syria (for reasons of civil conflict) and Nicaragua (because it didn’t go far enough to protect the planet), Macron made a speech in both French and English avowing France’s commitment to work with “all of the other countries” to “make this planet great again.”
Macron has proposed several pieces of legislation to back up his words, including a goal of recycling 100% of all plastics by 2025 and a proposed 50% reduction of nuclear energy use by that same year.
Finance & Innovation: When he invited American entrepreneurs to work in France.
In his speech at the Élysée Palace in the hours after the US left the Paris agreement Macron also extended an olive branch to American scientists, entrepreneurs, and citizens, inviting them to work in France.
“To all scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, responsible citizens who were disappointed by the decision of the president of the United States, I want to say that they will find in France a second homeland,” he said.
Throughout his campaign, Macron has been an outspoken proponent of a shift toward renewable energy in order to propel France’s economy forward. He has proposed a 15 billion euro investment toward “an energy and ecology transition.”
Food & Hunger: When he proposed all workplaces and school lunch rooms to have 50% organic products by 2022.
A little talked about piece of legislation proposed by France’s new president could have a large impact on French agriculture and food waste. Macron has proposed a law that would ensure that workplace and school lunchrooms use 50% biologically-produced ingredients by 2022. This would lead workers and students to have healthier, better balanced diets, and steer France away from the pesticide-laden agricultural mass production, in turn helping small farmers.
Health: When he proposed to send 40,000 medical students to schools and workplaces to provide preventative care.
When it comes to health care, France is already ahead of most, with a universal single-payer system, but Macron has proposed several policies that will fine-tune the system. The new president wants the country to focus on preventative, as opposed to reactive care, and plans to send 40,000 medical students to schools and workplaces across the country to provide these services.
Education: When he said ‘Non’ to further restrictions on Muslims headscarves, and proposed giving all French students a 500 euro ‘culture’ stipend.
The debate over the Muslim use of headscarves in public places has often taken center stage in France, but Macron has said he would not place any more restrictions on headscarves for Muslim women.
He has also proposed that all French high-school and college students be given a yearly stipend of 500 euros for cultural events, such as visiting museums and attending theater performances.
Citizenship: When he stood up to Vladimir Putin and accepted the first gay Chechen refugee.
While his counterpart in the election, Marine Le Pen, proposed shutting down entry of migrants and refugees to France, Macron has adopted quite the opposite stance. On May 30, France announced it had accepted the first gay Chechen refugee, at the same time as Russian president Vladimir Putin was meeting with the French president.
In a press conference with Putin, Macron told the Russian president “how important it is for France to respect all people, all minorities.”