Macron: Can Jupiter Rise Again?

Macron: Can Jupiter Rise Again?

The past few months have been brutal for French President Emmanuel Macron. Staff scandals, high-profile cabinet departures, and a recent selfie-fail in the Caribbean have all conspired to push his approval rating down from a post-election high of 65 percent to just 29 percent today. Opposition parties already smell blood. In a bid to set things right, Mr. Macron is expected to reshuffle his cabinet today. Macron hopes that by bringing in some fresh faces he can stop the slide and boost his chances of pulling off a new round of tricky economic reforms.


And tricky they are: Macron wants to cut the budget by shrinking France’s generous pension system and streamlining a government whose expenditure amounts to 56 percent of GDP, the highest of any country in Europe. He also wants to introduce more private competition for the debt-saddled state railway operator, despite staunch opposition from unions. Longer-term, Macron still wants to pull off a grand bargain with Germany to further integrate the member states of the European Union.

But to do any of that, he’ll need to shore up his popularity and hit reset on a presidency that’s on the skids. In part that’s because he used his early months in office to push through several bitter-pill reforms, in particular to France’s notoriously complex labor laws. But it’s also because by conducting the “Jupiterian” (meaning god-like) presidency that he once promised, Macron has alienated many of the insiders and functionaries whom he needs in order to govern. As his former interior minister, who jumped ship last week, put it, “If everyone bows down to him, he will eventually isolate himself.”

As Macron looks to change the narrative around his presidency, he’ll need to change up his cabinet but also his governing style. Whether he is able to do so credibly will have distinct consequences not only for the EU’s third largest economy, but also for the Union more broadly.

Vaccines are the best hope to end the COVID-19 pandemic. But rich countries are hogging most of the doses, with more than 83 percent of shots administered to date having gone to residents in high- and upper-middle-income countries. Most poor countries will have to wait years to achieve widespread vaccination, according to one study.

To address this inequity some stakeholders are pushing hard for waivers to intellectual-property (IP) rights through World Trade Organization trade rules so that manufacturers in poorer countries can make their own vaccines locally. India and South Africa have been leading the charge, which would essentially mean that deep-pocketed pharma companies like New York-based Pfizer, for instance, would have to hand over the keys to the kingdom, allowing local companies in New Delhi and Johannesberg to make generic versions of their vaccines.

Unsurprisingly, the debate has gotten fiery, with passionate arguments emerging both for and against.

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Russian president Vladimir Putin on Wednesday threatened an "asymmetrical, rapid, and harsh" response for anyone that dares to cross a "red line" with Russia.

What's the red line? Putin says he'll decide on a case-by-case basis. And the cases at the moment are growing: the US has sanctioned Russia over cyber crimes; Putin critic Alexei Navalny is near death in a Russian prison; the Czechs say Russia blew up a Czech munitions depot; and as many as 120,000 Russian troops are reported to be massing along Russia's border with Eastern Ukraine.

Which is to say: there's potentially a Sol Lewitt's-worth of red lines to ponder now.

Europe has been hit by a green wave in recent years. Green parties in countries as varied as Germany, Belgium, France, Ireland, Finland, and Sweden have made sizable electoral gains, with some now sitting in national governments.

The Green phenomenon seems to be gaining yet more momentum in the lead up to some crucial European elections (Germany, France) in the months ahead. What explains the green shift, and where might this trend be headed?

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More than 930 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine have already been administered globally, and another 1 billion more are expected to be manufactured by the end of May. Most of the manufacturing is concentrated in a small group of countries. While some — like China, for instance — are exporting roughly half of the shots they make, others — mainly the US — are keeping most of the supply for domestic use. Meanwhile, export controls have been a particularly thorny issue in the European Union and India, where governments have come under intense pressure to stop sending vaccines to other parts of the world amid sluggish rollouts at home. We take a look at what the world's top manufacturers are doing with the vaccines they are producing.

Ian Bremmer explains how a fire on the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland, Ohio, in the summer of 1969, set the conservation movement ablaze in the United States. A TIME Magazine article about the fire led to the Clean Water Act, creation of the EPA, and the first Earth Day—April 22, 1970. Over 50 years later, citizens of the world agree that climate change is a global emergency. But how can nations come together to find solutions that are truly attainable?

Watch the GZERO World episode: Can We Fix the Planet the Same Way We Broke It?

US President Joe Biden's highly anticipated two-day climate summit opens on Thursday, when dozens of world leaders and bigshot CEOs will gather (virtually) to try to save the planet. Above all, the US is looking to showcase the idea that "America is back" on climate change. But will other countries buy it?

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55: EU governments on Wednesday reached a deal to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 55 percent from 1990 levels by the end of the decade. The commitment is in line with the bloc's broader goal of going carbon-neutral by 2050.

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