Rollout may dent Macron’s re-election opportunities

French President Emmanuel Macron.

LOIC VENANCE | AFP | Getty Images

LONDON – France is currently far behind other European countries with its Kovid-19 vaccine rollout, which could hurt President Emmanuel Macron’s chances of re-election.

As of Friday, 80,000 French citizens had been vaccinated against coronaviruses so far. In comparison, neighboring Germany has delivered hundreds of thousands of vaccines.

Success or failure to vaccinate the population will shape political debate as the 2022 presidential race campaign gains momentum in the coming months.

Jessica Hinds, a European economist at Capital Economics, said on Thursday, “While the 2022 presidential election still has a long way to go, President Macron is certainly concerned that a poorly-executed vaccine rollout will increase his chances of winning another term Will harm. ” .

In a poll published in October, Macron stood neck-to-neck with distant leader Marine Le Pen.

Le Journal du Dimanche reported earlier this month that the French president reportedly complained that the pace of inoculation was “not worthy of the moment or worthy of the French people” and said the situation should change “quickly and remarkably “. The president’s office was not immediately available for comment when contacted by CNBC on Monday.

“The slow pace of vaccination will limit the government’s ability to lift sanctions that are taking their toll on the economy and people’s daily lives. This will obviously be unpopular among (French) voters, especially if other countries such as Germany Are able to remove them. Soon, “Hinds said.

Red tape has been the main cause of delay. Citizens must obtain a pre-vaccination consultation and seek consent from a physician before a job.

“What I think is striking about the French strategy is that public officials did not pay much attention to logistics,” Professor Jeremy Gays of HEC Paris Business School said via email.

Country reports also show that the population has a higher anti-vaccine sentiment than other countries.

French Health Minister Olivier Vernon initially suggested that careful distribution was taking into account concerns about the vaccine among the general population. An Ipsos poll published in late December showed that only 40% of French people had plans to get the coronavirus vaccine.

But the French government now wants to reverse the situation by simplifying the process. Vernon of France said that people 75 years of age and older would be able to make an appointment on the Internet or phone for vaccination.

The country is also raising eligibility criteria and the government has vowed that 1 million people will be vaccinated before the end of the month.

France has been one of the countries most affected by the epidemic. Prime Minister Jean Castex said on Thursday that restaurants and ski resorts would remain closed until at least mid-February and the night curfew would be extended to the end of January.

Social sanctions are taking a toll on the economy. France is expected to contract over 9% of GDP in 2020.

Vaccine rollout is slow, long segments of the economy will remain closed.

“The French economy is under anesthesia and it’s only when you pull the fiscal plug that you’ll really know how quickly the economic act can rebound. If it happens quickly, I like Macron’s chances because today “There are very few options. If it is. No, I would argue that all bets are closed,” Ghej said of how the economic performance would affect the presidential vote.

Macron defeated Le Pen in 2017 on the European Union agenda.


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