President-elect Macron, 39, will take office next Sunday, and represents a belated Gallic version of the model of left-to-center political figures that came to power in the 1990s in the U.S. and U.K., Bill Clinton and Tony Blair. While both Mr. Clinton and Mr. Blair were quite successful with their pro-entrepreneurial, “third-way” liberal politics, their successors have moved decidedly to the left — and to political defeat.
After years of slow growth, the country’s GDP figures are finally turning higher.But they remain at very low levels.The French economy expanded by 1.2% in 2016, according to the International Monetary Fund. The two larger economies in Europe — Germany and the U.K. — posted growth of 1.8% over the same period. The IMF predicts growth of just 1.4% for France in 2017, one of the weakest rates in the EU. France is also struggling to bring down its unemployment rate, which stands at roughly 10%. That’s higher than the eurozone average and more than double the level of joblessness in Germany and Britain. The unemployment problem is even worse for young people: 24% of those between the ages of 15 and 24 don’t have a job.Government debt, meanwhile, has ballooned to almost 90% of GDP, up from just 58% a decade ago.
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