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Breakingviews - Capital Calls - Macron sacrifices elite énarques

French President Emmanuel Macron attends a joint statement with Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki before a meeting at the Élysée Palace in Paris, France, March 17, 2021.

ZURICH (Reuters Breakingviews) - UP THE DRAWBRIDGE. The last time Emmanuel Macron went after the École nationale d’administration (ENA) in 2019, Paris was grappling with weekend sieges from yellow-vested protesters. Castigating the finishing school for the managerial class was a symbolic gesture to distract attention from riots. So it’s easy to see the French president’s latest expected salvo against the institution as another populist sop. After all, Macron and top dogs at BNP Paribas, Société Générale, Rothschild & Co and Bpifrance are all recipients of its hallowed degrees.

Like much of Europe, France is in the grip of another wave of Covid-19 infections and lockdowns. Worse, it’s sucking wind on vaccinating citizens. Just 5% of the French population has been fully inoculated, versus 8% in the United Kingdom and 19% in the United States. Creating greater opportunity and a more equal society is laudable. But trashing ENA won’t automatically free up top spots in government, finance and business. Focusing on vaccinations, though, will save lives. (By Rob Cox)

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