Since he took office 100 days ago, Francois Hollande has had little sleep between the country’s crisis and the people’s high expectations.
Hollande and his new government have adopted policies aimed at fulfilling his campaign promises during the past three months.
In May, two weeks after his election, the Socialist President trimmed Ministers’ salaries 30 percent, signed a directive clarifying the government’s organization and responsibilities, announced the withdrawal of French troops from Afghanistan, and eased restrictions on foreign students.
In June and July, after the right wing’s victory in the legislative election, the Hollande administration has more momentum for new policies to increase the minimum wages, lower the retirement age to 60 for some workers, limit the annual pay for CEOs of state-owned companies to 450,000 euros, increase the allowance for families with children of school age, and negotiate a European compact of growth and jobs.
On August 1, he announced an important decision to cut the President and Prime Minister’s salaries by 30 percent, which was highly anticipated by the French people
Hollande’s effort has been well-received by the French people. But high expectations are invariably spurred by desperation, and the new government has been unable to fulfill all of the public’s wishes.
The biggest concern has been the layoff of workers in many sectors, including 8,000 dismissals by Peugeot Citroen. Hollande’s government has been criticized for being slow to do anything to prevent the layoff.
Hollande has failed to keep promises such as avoiding petroleum price hikes and raising taxes on high income earners. His government has also received public criticism for weak security in some areas.
A gloomy economy has made the public anxious and weary. As a President who favors the common people over their employers, Hollande’s policies have created some bitter adversaries.
But Hollande’s presidency is just beginning and the road ahead will be long and hard. In the next three months, he needs to prevent further oil and gas price hikes, introduce a 75 percent tax rate on incomes above one million euros, generate more jobs and provide houses for young people.
Improving security is another pressing task. Spreading violence, which killed two policewomen in Amiens several days ago, has sparked criticism of the government’s security policy.
Hollande will have to work harder to elevate France’s position in the European Union relative to Germany, which is widely praised for standing firm in the regional economic and financial crisis.
His first 100 days in office have received positive reactions from the public, but there is a long way to go to bring his country out of crisis./.