Europe

Macron v Le Pen: What are their visions for France?

Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen, 23 Apr 17 combo image Image copyright AFP
Image caption Macron v Le Pen: Some say the contest amounts to free markets v protectionism

National renewal is what both the rival French presidential candidates are promising, but they offer very different paths to get there.

Liberal centrist Emmanuel Macron - winner of the first round - and nationalist Marine Le Pen are already revolutionising French politics.

They have delivered a big blow to the long-dominant Socialists and conservative Republicans.

Mr Macron leads a new movement called En Marche (On the Move), while Ms Le Pen is backed by the National Front (FN). They disagree on many issues, especially Europe and immigration.

The decisive second round is on Sunday - and polls show Mr Macron with a firm lead. So what are the main differences between the Macron and Le Pen visions?


Economy

Macron:

  • Make budget savings of €60bn (£51bn; $65bn), so that France sticks to the EU deficit limit of 3% of GDP (total output)
  • Public investments worth €50bn spread over five years for environmental measures, apprenticeships, digital innovation and public infrastructure
  • Lower corporation tax to 25% from 33.3%

Le Pen:

  • Introduce "intelligent protectionism", including favouring French firms in public sector contracts
  • Turn the euro into a "common currency" used for trade, but restore the franc in the domestic economy
  • Free up loans for small businesses by lowering interest charges

Image copyright AFP
Image caption The candidates differ over France's 35-hour working week

Labour market

Macron:

  • Boost people's purchasing power by cutting their social security contributions, worth about €500 annually for someone on a monthly net salary of €2,200
  • Allow firms flexibility on the 35-hour working week - but extra hours worked will be free of social security deductions
  • Maintain retirement age at 62, but unify pension rules to reduce complexity

Le Pen:

  • Impose a new tax on the hiring of foreign workers so that French citizens get priority
  • Keep the 35-hour working week
  • Lower the retirement age to 60

Europe

Macron:

  • Reform the EU by giving the eurozone a separate budget, finance minister and parliament (MEPs from the 19 countries that use the euro)
  • In Brexit negotiations, insist that EU Single Market rules apply fully to all trade partners
  • Promote free trade deals like Ceta - the EU-Canada deal

Le Pen:

  • Negotiate with the EU to repatriate powers to France and reform the bloc, then hold an in/out referendum on France's EU membership
  • Restore full border controls, leave the Schengen open borders system, appoint 6,000 new customs officers
  • Scrap the EU posted workers directive, to block competition from foreign workers in France

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Ms Le Pen wants to suspend immigration while Mr Macron insists on fluency in French

Immigration

Macron:

  • Create a 5,000-strong force of EU border guards
  • Make fluency in French the main qualification for obtaining French nationality
  • Give all religious leaders comprehensive training in France's secular values

Le Pen:

  • Suspend all legal immigration, restore border controls and then limit immigration to 10,000 annually
  • Automatically deport all foreign criminals and foreigners with Islamist links, close "extremist" mosques
  • Grant asylum only to people who apply for it at French diplomatic missions abroad

Read more on the French election:

In depth: Meteoric rise of Emmanuel Macron

In depth: Is Marine Le Pen far right?

Five things the French election has told us

France heads into uncharted waters


Image copyright AFP
Image caption Mr Macron wants an EU defence fund, Ms Le Pen wants to recruit more soldiers

Defence and security

Macron:

  • Recruit 10,000 new police officers
  • Expand prisons to house an extra 15,000
  • Create an EU defence fund to promote joint military projects and set up a permanent European headquarters

Le Pen:

  • Recruit 15,000 new police officers
  • Create 40,000 extra prison places
  • Boost armed forces by 50,000 personnel to return to 2007 levels and pull France out of Nato's command structure

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Ms Le Pen wants the return of school uniforms, Mr Macron wants to ban mobile phones in schools

Education

Macron:

  • In areas of special need - notably poor suburbs (banlieues) - limit class sizes in primary schools to 12 pupils per teacher
  • Ban children's use of mobile phones at school
  • At the age of 18 French teenagers will get a "Cultural Pass" worth €500 to spend on cultural pursuits such as the cinema, theatre, books

Le Pen:

  • Get back to basics - prioritise teaching of French, history and maths
  • Restore school uniforms and respect for teachers
  • Make schools "secular zones" free of social conflict

Political reform

Macron:

  • Cut the number of public servants by 120,000 - through natural wastage, but excluding hospitals
  • MPs must not work as consultants, nor employ family members
  • Cut the total number of parliamentary deputies and senators by about one-third

Le Pen:

  • Simplify the civil service by cutting the layers of state administration from six to three
  • Cut the number of deputies to 300 (from 577) and senators to 200 (from 348)
  • Introduce proportional representation in all elections (current parliamentary elections are first-past-the-post)

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Mr Macron is for green technology, Ms Le Pen supports nuclear energy

Energy and environment

Macron:

  • Half of food provided in school and work canteens must be organic or locally produced
  • France must be the world leader in developing green technologies
  • One million poorly insulated homes must be renovated

Le Pen:

  • Support nuclear energy and modernise it - and keep Fessenheim atomic power station running
  • Boost investment in French renewable energy firms, under the supervision of state utility EDF, but stop wind energy projects
  • Cut pollution by maximising production in France instead of shipping goods globally
Emmanuel Macron

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Emmanuel Macron

Marine Le Pen

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Marine Le Pen

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Last updated April 25, 2017

*Polling results up to this date show how people said they would vote on 7 May, if Macron and Le Pen reached the second round

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