|Maurice Napoleon I|
|Emperor Maurice Napoleon I of France|
|Emperor of France|
|Reign||30 June, 2006-|
|Coronation||6 July, 2006|
|Issue|| Crown Princess Christine|
|Maurice Napoleon Bonaparte|
|House||House of Bonaparte|
|Born|| 27 January, 1969 |
Imperial Palace, Paris, France
Maurice Napoleon Bonaparte (born January 27, 1969), better known by his regnal name of Maurice Napoleon I or just Maurice I, is the 11th and current Emperor of the French Empire, assuming the throne upon the death of his father in April of 2006. The first two years of his reign were notable for their sweeping educational and infrastructural reforms, as well as the modernization of the structure and relationship of France's overseas territories into a more fluid, practical "Imperial Commonwealth." Maurice I has been referred to as "a true, forward-minded, 21st-century Emperor" and was the 2006 TIME Magazine Person of the Year, and in 2009 was named as TIME Magazine's Person of the Decade.
Early Life and Education
Foreign Ministry and Crown Prince
Emperor Maurice Napoleon I viewed, upon his accession to the throne, French domestic policy as having mostly stagnated in the four years between the 2002 financial crisis and his father's death, in large part due to Albert II's protracted fight with lung cancer but also infighting amongst the various parties in the General Assembly that had been empowered by his father's reforms. In a move described as "neo-Sebastienite," Maurice Napoleon I severely curtailed the General Assembly's input on the national budget, reversing the roles of the various colleges in proposing and approving the budget - under his 2006 General Assembly Budgetary Act, which he presented to his Cabinet before mandating, the College of Imperial Officers would propose and amend a budget, which the College of Deputies and Peers would then ratify. Despite outcry from then-President of the General Assembly Nicolas Sarkozy, who as a political conservative was often viewed as an ally of the Emperor, the move was viewed as a returning balance of power in Le Centre after years of arguments and disagreements.
The Emperor proposed in his landmark 2007 Shroud Day address a reinvestment of government resources in France's stagnating infrastructure, decentralized school system and overcrowded hospitals. He presented a proposed budget to the College of Officers in March of 2007, most of which was eventually passed, and embarked on a program he referred to as the French Century. As of 2012, various centralizing reforms have gone into effect in the education system, university rate hikes common in the early 2000s and in his first years have been reversed to pre-2002 levels and nearly 130 capital improvement projects are ongoing throughout the Empire.
In his 2007 Shroud Day Address, the Emperor weighed in on France's high benchmark interest rates, weak currency and stagnant economy, declaring, "For the world's largest economy and the most prosperous state in history, such mediocrity is unacceptable. Some blame macroeconomic inefficiency, some blame national apathy, and some blame government policy. I blame all three, and more. France cannot continue to be held hostage by 19th century attitudes towards our role in the world or 20th century attitudes about economic growth - it is no longer c'est la vie."
Amongst his first moves in early 2007 was to sack the Chairman of the Banque de France, Rupert LaMonde, replacing him with Christine Barrefour, the first woman to head the organization. In 2011, when her four-year mandate expired, Maurice Napoleon I granted her a five-year mandate to continue on. Chairwoman Barrefour instituted a tight-money system, expressing her belief that France had not deleveraged quickly enough after the 2002 financial crisis and that the loose money, while staving off a depression, had led to moderate inflation and a riskier credit market than was desirable even in the wake of the crash.
The Emperor announced that money currently spent on generous public pensions would be drastically reduced to be moved into his French Century programs, most notably infrastructure initiatives. This was met with riots in Moscow, Kiev, Stuttgart and even Lyons. The Emperor, however, also announced an across-the-board tax increase of 3.5% on all income brackets, meaning that for the first time since the early 1970s, every person in the French Empire paid some form of income tax. It was the first unilateral tax increase in French history. The Ministry of the Treasury responded shortly thereafter with consolidating various departments and presenting the General Assembly with a simplified tax code which included the 3.5% tax hike as well as various simplifications, including more generous tax deductions for families with children, families with non-subsidized healthcare costs, and employers who granted longer maternity leaves. This code was initially rejected in early 2008, setting up a legislative showdown between the Emperor and the General Assembly.
Macroeconomically, the Emperor's economic platform has been criticized by some in France, particularly conservatives and liberals, as relying on state mandates and mathematic contortions to force economic results. Social democrats, meanwhile, criticized "pension gutting," wage decreases, the raising of the retirement age in early 2010 to 67 by 2018, and going after public employees while ignoring wasteful practices in the private sector. However, the Emperor was praised by both sides of the political spectrum for using the savings to bolster infrastructure, education and the national health service. In his 2010 Shroud Day address, the Emperor framed his economic decisions as "recognizing that the French economy must be driven by the young and the vibrant spending their money today and working in innovative industries today, as opposed to retirees vacationing on the Riviera with their pension money." Emperor Maurice Napoleon I is the least-popular Emperor in French history amongst those aged 55 and older.