PARIS – France's new president Emmanuel Macron has vowed to quickly implement security, anti-corruption and labor measures he considers as priorities. They are expected to easily pass parliament during a special session in July, now that the government has a wide majority at the National Assembly.
The French government is going to seek an extension of the state of emergency from July 15, its current expiration date, until Nov. 1.
The measure is in place since the November 2015 attacks by Islamic extremists in Paris. It would be its sixth extensions.
The state of emergency gives police exceptional powers to make house arrests, raids, and ban protests, among others.
In parallel, the government plans to pass a bill to make some extraordinary security measures permanent beyond the end of the state of emergency.
The Socialist party and other voices on the left have called on Macron to abandon the project, saying the state of emergency is specific and cannot become a permanent rule —to the risk of regressing on human rights.
ETHICS INTO POLITICS
France's government has presented a draft law on cleaning up political ethics after years of corruption scandals.
The new bill notably would ban lawmakers and government members from hiring family members, following the scandal surrounding conservative candidate François Fillon during the presidential campaign. His wife, Penelope, was richly paid as a parliamentary aide, allegedly without actually working.
Judges would be allowed to ban a person convicted for fraud or corruption-related crimes from running for an elected office for up to 10 years.
Lawmakers would be asked to report their expenses — a first in the country. Until now, they get monthly allowances to cover expenses they don't have to justify.
Yet the measure, a key Macron campaign promise, is already clouded.
Justice minister Francois Bayrou's centrist party Modem is under investigation for possible misuse of European Parliament funds.
Two other government members are facing a probe, one for a similar claim and the other for his past business practices. They all deny wrongdoing.
The most sensitive of Macron's reforms is a set of measures that would ease hiring and firing with the aim to bring down the unemployment rate — now just below 10 percent. Unions fear it would destroy workers' protection instead.
The government proposes to cap the financial penalty for companies illegally firing employees. It also wants to simplify employee representatives' bodies and allow every business to have more flexibility to define its own internal working rules.
The details of the bill haven't been disclosed yet. A series of meetings between government and unions are scheduled during summer.
Workers unions have criticized the labor reform and Macron's decision to skirt normal procedure in parliament to pass changes.
The government plans to use a special procedure to pass the measures by the end of the summer without an extended debate in parliament. The process doesn't allow lawmakers to amend the text.
The measures will then have to be ratified by parliament.