Article first published on Social Europe on 24 May 2017
For the first time in years, France is being looked at with interest and admiration. The country is having its ‘Obama moment’: the feeling that no ambition is too high for a great nation, especially when it comes to carrying the torch of liberal democracy and optimism.
In fact, the parallels between Obama’s 2008 and Macron’s 2017 victories are staggering. In both cases, a charming new face of exceptional talent and self-confidence emerges against all odds to offer a radical departure from the past. Politically, Macron, like Obama, comes from the centre-left but proposes to work with moderates from both sides and to break away from ideological posturing. Economically, the new French President puts forward the vision of social mobility, innovation economics, and egalitarian liberalism once championed by Obama. Culturally, it is hard not to notice the commonality between Obama’s multicultural patriotism and Macron’s proud promotion of an evolving French identity.