Key issues in French elections and how the candidates differ

Key issues in French elections and how the candidates differ

Labour and welfare

Fillon: Scrap France’s 35-hour week; reduce corporate taxes; raise retirement age from 62 to 65.

Hamon: Universal basic income, initially for low-paid workers and students; tax on robots in the workplace.

Le Pen: Give priority to French; Employers who hire foreigners pay extra tax; lower retirement age to 60.

Macron: More flexibility on labour laws; loosening of 35-hour week; lower business taxes.

Melenchon: Raise minimum wage; lower retirement age to 60; 32-hour work week.

The state, finances and society

Fillon: Reduce public spending by €100 billion in five years; cut 500,000 public sector jobs.

Hamon: Five-year investment plan worth €100 billion for urban and environmental renovation.

Le Pen: A commitment to give “national priority” to French people; ban Islamic dress.

Macron: A public investment plan of €50 billion and scrap 120,000 public sector jobs by 2022.

Melenchon: Separate retail from investment banking and rewrite French Constitution


Fillon: Reform the Schengen travel accords to tighten control of the EU’s external borders.

Hamon: Switch emphasis from free market to greater social protection.

Le Pen: Hold an in-out referendum on EU membership within six months; leave the euro.

Macron: Maintain the Schengen area; boost EU’s external border with 5,000 more guards.

Melenchon: Renegotiate EU treaties; devalue the euro; EU moratorium on debt repayments.


Fillon: Annual quotas to keep immigration to a strict minimum; limit French nationality.

Hamon: Speed up asylum application process; new “humanitarian visa” system for refugees.

Le Pen: Reduce immigration to 10,000 a year; stop regularising illegal immigrants.

Macron: Deal with asylum applications in six months; applicants to speak good French.

Melenchon: Regularise illegal workers; emergency aid for refugees; build more refugee shelters.

Crime and security

Fillon: Set age of criminal responsibility at 16; 16,000 new prison places; 5,000 more police.

Hamon: Bring back community policing; 9,000 more police; improve intelligence coordination.

Le Pen: Hire 15,000 police; 40,000 more prison places; expel foreigners who commit crimes.

Macron: Restore compulsory military service; modernise France’s nuclear arsenal.

Melenchon: Bring back community policing; curtail stop-and-search laws; hire 10,000 police.


Fillon: Scale up nuclear energy sites and close coal-fired power stations; more shale projects.

Hamon: 50 per cent of electricity from renewables by 2025, and 100 per cent by 2050.

Le Pen: Promote nuclear power; reduce fossil fuel consumption; promote hydrogen cars.

Macron: Insulate more homes; €1,000 payment for greener cars; reduce nuclear dependence.

Melenchon: Phase out nuclear and fossil-fuel energy. All energy from renewables by 2050.