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2022 FRENCH PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

7 of the best Macron memes from the French election campaign

The 2022 French presidential election campaign has been a fairly dour affair - elections usually are - but recent images of candidate Emmanuel Macron during his TV debate with opponent Marine Le Pen, and relaxing with shirt unbuttoned have given rise to some much-needed smiles.

7 of the best Macron memes from the French election campaign
Photo by Ludovic MARIN / POOL / AFP)

One photo in particular has sparked widespread interest – and even international media coverage – and it’s from Macron’s personal photographer Soazig de la Moissonnière.

She has been posting regular sequences of ‘behind the scenes on the election trail’ images on her Instagram account, including Macron’s recent election rally in Marseille. In among images of Macron preparing for his speech, running on stage and greeting the crowd was one of him relaxing after the event was over.

Slumped on a sofa with his shirt open to the waist (well, it’s hot in Marseille), the image caught the attention of social media.

Photo: Soazig de la Moissonnière via Instagram

Combined with other images of Macron – including that ‘Zelensky’ hoodie photo from earlier in the campaign – the image quickly became a meme circulating on Twitter.

There are dozens of these circulating as people fill in their own jokes and comparisons.

The Financial Times’s chief features writer Henry Mance gave us this scarily accurate portrayal of a journalist’s life. Freelances, in particular, will recognise this all too well.

And Nicolas Quenel compared and contrasted the daily lives of journalists in different areas of the media – print journalist, radio journalist, web journalist and TV journalist.

Here’s one for classicists…

But it’s not just Macron’s chest-hair that has been gaining attention, many also remarked on his ‘bored’ face during the live TV debate with Marine Le Pen.

According to the strict rules of the debate, each candidate had a set time to lay out their policies on a certain area, before their opponent could challenge them.

Both candidates engaged in a little ‘non verbal campaigning’ but using facial expressions and body language to show that they disagreed with what the other was saying. 

Macron’s bored expression sparked many comparisons, including this from professor, author and columnist Olivier Babeau who tweeted “when your Tinder date talks without stopping and the evening is going to be a long one”.

Another Twitter user hit the nail on the head, with this picture of Macron making notes during the debate. He really did look that bored at times on Wednesday that we could believe he was writing a shopping list (milk, onions, cereal, butter).

And Emma James wasn’t the only one to wonder about his body language.

And you know you’ve made it when you’re the subject of a sketch on a US TV chat show – here’s host Jimmy Fallon paying, erm, tribute to Macron’s new look in song. Enjoy! 

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POLITICS

French minister: US green plan should be ‘wake-up call’ for EU industry

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire on Friday said Washington's $430 billion plan to spur climate-friendly technologies in the United States must be seen as a wake-up call for Europe.

French minister: US green plan should be 'wake-up call' for EU industry

The EU “must be able to sweep in front of our own door” before worrying about the effects of the US climate plan on European industry, Le Maire told AFP in Washington, where he was part of French President Emmanuel Macron’s US state visit.

Even though the EU has already “changed its approach” on promoting green industry, the US climate plan must be seen as a “wake-up call” in the European Union, he added.

Le Maire’s comments came as EU countries have poured criticism on Washington’s landmark Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), seeing it as anti-competitive and a threat to European jobs, especially in the energy and auto sectors.

Subsidies for green energy

The act, designed to accelerate the US transition to a low-carbon economy, contains around $370 billion in subsidies for green energy as well as tax cuts for US-made electric cars and batteries.

Macron on Wednesday slammed the plan’s “Made in USA” provisions as “super aggressive” for European businesses.

But at a joint press conference with Macron, Biden said that he and the French leader had agreed to “discuss practical steps to coordinate and align our approaches”, though he said he would not apologize for the US plan.

Biden added the IRA was never intended to disadvantage any US allies.

Threats of retaliatory measures

Last month, EU Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton threatened to appeal to the World Trade Organization and consider “retaliatory measures” if the United States did not reverse its subsidies.

Le Maire also criticized the EU’s own climate spending plans, arguing that they were too cumbersome and loaded with red tape.

“If the ambition is the same” as the Europeans, the United States relies on methods that “are simpler and faster”, he said.

“They put immediate and massive tax credits where we provide state aid (to specific projects) which sometimes take two years to be adopted and are too complex to implement,” said Le Maire.

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