The blush-saving rhetoric surrounding France's labour law reforms

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The French government has presented the detail of its labour law reform, which were a pillar of President Emmanuel Macron’s election manifesto and which he said was urgent "because it will create jobs". But already, Prime Minister Édouard Philippe has downplayed the importance of the reforms, which he now describes as “just the start”. Mediapart economics correspondent Romaric Godin argues in this op-ed article that this is a typical example of the rhetoric surrounding liberal reforms, such as during the European debt crisis, in which their limited results become obscured by the supposed necessity for yet more urgent deregulation.

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A week after the publication of the decrees detailing Emmanuel Macron’s much-awaited labour law reforms, the tone of comments by business leaders, the government and Macron’s ruling LREM party have been conspicuously moderate.