Macron Episode 2: “I want France to be a country of unicorns”

by Sophie Pairault in Paris

In a new extraordinary chapter of French politics, the French parliamentary election has given a large majority to the newly-elected French President Emmanuel Macron and his newly-created party, La Republique En Marche.

In the past few weeks French citizens have pressed the reset button and changed radically the French political landscape.

The new assembly will have younger representatives and more women (38% overall and 47% for Macron’s own party); it’s a significant change for the French National Assembly that saw too many sexist behaviors over the years.

The mandate to reform France seems clear even though some voices in the opposition are contesting this, as the turnout was at an all-time low.

In a context where there is no clear opposition but four divided forces against Macron’s strong majority, if the government plays its card wisely they should be able to do a lot of what was promised.

Last week, Macron was talking at VivaTech, the Paris trade show for technology and innovation, which Macron expects to compete with CES in the future. The French president talked for 35 minutes about how he wants “France to be a startup nation. A nation that thinks and moves like a startup" and “a country of unicorns.”

To make this happen Macron plans to introduce a flat tax to support innovation investment; simplify French bureaucracy and labor law; create a 10-billion-euro investment fund for innovation; and develop further the French Tech Visa to attract foreign entrepreneurs to France.

In a similar way he offered on June 1st to American scientists to come to France to work on climate change and “make our planet great again” after Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the international agreement to combat climate change.

The French president reiterated during his speech at VivaTech that working on “clean tech” and “green tech” were priorities.

He concluded in English: “France is the place to be, to invest, to work, to invent. Entrepreneur is the new France.”

A key element of the plan is a strong alliance with Germany to make sure the European dream is alive and Europe is a force to be reckoned with.  To deliver a balanced message, he also warned against cynicism and cupidity.

With this win in the parliamentary election, the ball is in Macron’s court to deliver on his ambitious vision for France and Europe. Now Emmanuel Macron has to walk the talk!