Childhood & Early Life
Emmanuel Macron was born on 21 December 1977, in Amiens, France, to Françoise (Noguès), a physician, and Jean-Michel Macron, professor of neurology at the ‘University of Picardy.’ Even though his parents were not religious, Macron was baptized a Roman Catholic at his own request when he was 12.
He was smart and determined from a young age and performed well as a student at the ‘Jésuites de la Providence lycée.’ As a teenager, he became infatuated with one of his teachers at school, and in order to distract him, his parents sent him to the élite high school ‘Lycée Henri-IV’ in Paris for his final year.
Following his high school graduation, he studied philosophy at the ‘University of Paris-Ouest Nanterre La Défense,’ obtaining a DEA degree. He then proceeded to earn his master's degree in public affairs from the ‘Paris Institute of Political Studies.’
Interested in a career in civil service, Macron trained at the ‘École nationale d'administration’ (ENA) and graduated in 2004.
Continue Reading Below
Emmanuel Macron landed a job as an inspector of finances in the ‘French Ministry of Economy’ shortly after completing his studies in 2004. In this position, he served as deputy rapporteur for the Commission to improve French economic growth headed by Jacques Attali in 2007.
In 2008, the ambitious young man received an offer to work as an investment banker at ‘Rothschild & Cie Banque.’ Since he had already landed a government job, he had to pay €50,000 to buy himself out of his government contract.
Meanwhile, Macron had also ventured into politics as a member of the ‘Socialist Party’ (PS) in 2006. He left the party in 2009 and became an independent politician.
In the French political circles, Emmanuel Macron was considered a protégé of the senior Socialist politician François Hollande, who is believed to have played a role in shaping Macron’s career. In 2012, Macron was selected for a senior position in President Hollande's office—as deputy secretary-general of the Élysée.
Macron’s political career continued to flourish and he was appointed as the minister of economy and finance on 26 August 2014, replacing Arnaud Montebourg, under Prime Minister Manuel Valls.
As the minister of the economy, Macron played a major role in promoting business-friendly reforms. He was in favor of the free market and strived towards reducing the public-finances deficit. A vocal supporter of the ‘El Khomri’ law, he called for an economic overhaul.
In this position, he also supported the ‘Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement’ (CETA) between Canada and the European Union.
His stance on foreign policy proved to be a bit controversial. His popularity saw a dip after he described France's colonization of Algeria as a "crime against humanity.”
Emmanuel Macron initially said that France needed a more "balanced" policy toward Syria and that he was willing to consider talks with Bashar Assad. However, following the chemical attack in Khan Shaykhun, Macron called for a possible military intervention against Assad’s regime.
As far as his views on Israel are concerned, he proposed that Hollande's policies be continued. He opposed the ‘Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement’ (also known as the BDS Movement) coordinated by the Palestinian ‘BDS National Committee.’
His views on immigration differed from those of many other French socialists, including former Prime Minister Manuel Valls. Inspired by Angela Merkel’s open-door policy toward immigrants and refugees, he stated that he was confident that France has the ability to absorb more immigrants. He also promotes tolerance towards people belonging to diverse religions.
Emmanuel Macron founded an independent political party called ‘En Marche!’ in Amiens on 6 April 2016. He then resigned from his governmental position and voiced his intention to run for the 2017 French presidential election on November 2016.
He promised to “unblock France” in his announcement speech and called for a "democratic revolution." His bid was supported by many prominent political figures, including François Bayrou, Daniel Cohn-Bendit, François de Rugy, and Richard Ferrand.
After qualifying for the runoff after the first round of the election on 23 April 2017, Emmanuel Macron won the second round of the presidential election on 7 May, conveniently beating Marine Le Pen of the National Front. He formally assumed office as the president of France on 14 May 2017.
After functioning as an independent politician for a few years, Emmanuel Macron launched his own political party ‘En Marche!’ on 6 April 2016. A social-liberal party, ‘En Marche!’ is considered to be a progressive movement, uniting both the left and the right. Academics often compare the party to the Spanish liberal political party ‘Citizens,’ and Macron to its leader, Albert Rivera.
Personal Life & Legacy
Emmanuel Macron was just a teenager when he fell in love with his drama teacher, Brigitte Trogneux, 24 years his senior. Despite their age gap—and the fact that Brigitte was married with three children—the boy pursued her. Disturbed by his attitude towards his teacher, Emmanuel’s parents sent him to another city to complete his high school.
Being a determined young man that he was, Emmanuel promised to his teacher that one day he would return and marry her. He kept his promise. After completing his studies, he resumed his relationship with her. Brigitte eventually divorced her first husband and married Macron in 2007.