With less than a year until the next presidential election, Francois Hollande used his last Bastille Day address to defend his legacy. Steering the country through the financial crisis, terrorism attacks and the fallout from the Brexit vote, the French President cast himself as a guardian of the Republic.
When pressed on whether the state of emergency would expire as scheduled at the end of the month, he answered:
“We can’t extend the state of emergency indefinitely, it would make no sense. That would mean we`re no longer a country with the rule of law applied in all circumstances. The state of emergency is part of exceptional situations. Here we have a law that gives a guarantee for an action against terrorism. Is the threat there? Yes, there is.”
Hollande staked his re-election bid on a pledge to reduce unemployment, something which he failed to accomplish putting his ambitions run for office again in doubt. When asked about this he replied:
“We will have less unemployment, but it’s true that the unemployment is still high. And it means that we must continue the policy that I began, we must follow up on it.”
Hollande’s haircut became the subject of online scrutiny after it was revealed his hairdresser was paid almost 10,000 euros a month, leading to accusations of hypocrisy from the man who painted himself as Mr Normal. Hollande avoided addressing it directly saying:
“I have cut my salary, I have cut the numbers of employees in the Elysee, and I have cut the budget from €109 million to €100 million. So you can reproach me for anything, but this!”
On Brexit, the president said the vote, by causing economic turmoil, showed the dangers of policies such as far-right party Front National’s plan to leave the euro. He also pressed the new British premier to start negotiations to leave the EU as soon as possible.