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France’s Macron could be about to face his defining moment amid fierce protest and plummeting support


Emmanuel Macron, France's president, looks on during a news conference in Salzburg, Austria, on Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2017.

Lisi Niesner | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Emmanuel Macron, France’s president, looks on during a news conference in Salzburg, Austria, on Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2017.

The French government is to unveil final details of proposed labor reforms Thursday in what is seen as a key plank of President Emmanuel Macron’s political and economic strategy for the next five years but also a highly contentious issue inside the country.

The recently-elected president wants to make the labor market more flexible to improve the country’s economy. Macron has always advocated that France needs to become more competitive and the reform program became one of his key pledges on the campaign trail. The high costs when both firing and hiring in France are seen as a reason for a lack of investment in a society that has been hit by high unemployment.

However, the issue has always sparked problems with trade unions.

“We will not avoid some little strikes, but this is normal. In all countries around the world there are strikes when you touch labour law,” Pierre Gattaz, the president of Medef, a large employment federation in France, told CNBC on Wednesday.

“We have to do that (labor reform). I hope Emmanuel Macron will not fail to do that,” Gattaz added, asking for simpler rules from the government.

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