Destinations Magazine

Why Emmanuel Macron Wants to Abolish ENA, France’s Most Elite College

By Stizzard

FIFTEEN YEARS ago this spring, students at France's elite postgraduate civil-service college were preparing to celebrate their graduation. Behind them lay the Alsatian city of Strasbourg, its beer halls, and two years of intense study at the Ecole Nationale d'Administration (ENA). Ahead stood fast-track jobs in the parquet-floored corridors of power in Paris, and the guarantee of brilliant careers. As the top-ranked graduating student stepped towards the front of the amphitheatre, however, she handed the astonished director a 20-page report, written by pupils and entitled "ENA: the urgency of reform". Among its signatories was a fellow graduating student with a shock of unkempt hair, Emmanuel Macron.

The student rebel, it seems, has turned into the presidential revolutionary. On April 25th, in response to the gilets jaune s (yellow jackets) protesters and their rage against the out-of-touch elite, Mr Macron announced the abolition of ENA. "Makeshift repairs", the president declared, would not do: "If you keep the same structures, habits are just too strong." It was the most controversial and spectacular of all the announcements made to mark the end of his months-long "great national debate". At a stroke, Mr Macron gave in to a populist demand, and sent both his own alma mater and a symbol of modern France to the...

The Economist: Europe
Why Emmanuel Macron wants to abolish ENA, France’s most elite college

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