Shopping on Sundays! Resolving labor disputes more expeditiously! Easing regulations on notaries and bailiffs! Emmanuel Macron has brought all of these to France in an effort to make it less French, economically-speaking. But he’s not done. How about that 35-hour workweek?
In interviews with The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Macron said he is planning to strengthen his namesake legislation in ways that are likely to widen the divide. For example, he wants to allow companies to sidestep rigid labor rules and negotiate directly with employees, a move that could tread on France’s hallowed 35-hour workweek.
“You have to be more confrontational,” he says.
The former Rothschild investment banker—who took up his new charge after making his fortune on M&A, which taught him how to win over tired old hacks like French President François Hollande—may not be making any Frenchmen happy. But he’s put a smile on that most important of faces, Angela Merkel’s, in whose country, it should be noted, it is all-but-impossible to shop between 4 p.m. on Friday and 10 a.m. on Monday.
“I’m happy,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel said while standing beside Mr. Hollande in Paris three days after he strong-armed the French parliament. “It shows France has the ability to act….” [...]
Mr. Macron juggled his work for Mr. Hollande’s campaign with his duties as an investment banker for Rothschild & Cie. Leveraging connections made through Mr. Attali, Mr. Macron helped arrange Nestlé SA’s $11.8 billion purchase of Pfizer Inc. ’s baby-food business. The takeover made Mr. Macron wealthy and taught him how to curry favor in a risk-averse corporate culture. “You’re sort of a prostitute,” he says. “Seduction is the job.”