Financial TimesFinancial Times

Emmanuel Macron, France’s risk-taker-in-chief

By Victor Mallet

23 Apr 2022 · 4 min read

Emmanuel Macron likes to take risks. Confronted with anti-vaccination protests during the Covid-19 pandemic, the French president could have backed down as he did in the face of the anti-government gilets jaunes demonstrations three years earlier. Instead he raised the stakes, declaring his wish to “piss off” the unvaccinated and insisting that only the inoculated be allowed to enter bars and restaurants.

Macron’s sometimes unpopular enforcement of digital “health passes” and later “vaccination passes” paid off and saved lives. At the start of the pandemic, few people were more sceptical of vaccines than the French. Today, 78 per cent are fully vaccinated, more than in Germany, the UK and the US.

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