French President Emmanuel Macron has been keeping a low profile for the last few days but has told allies he has no intention of dissolving parliament.
French President Emmanuel Macron will address the country on Wednesday in a much-anticipated television interview, aimed at appeasing the anger against his pension reform adopted by force and explaining how he intends to overcome this crisis without changing his government or turning to voters.
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Emmanuel Macron's interview main points
— The head of state said on Wednesday that his highly contested pension reform was “necessary” and should “come into force by the end of the year”, during a televised interview on TF1 and France 2.
— While new rallies were organized Tuesday evening against the reform in several major French cities, “we can accept neither the factious, nor the factions,” said Emmanuel Macron. “We will not tolerate any excesses,” he warned.
— The president also wished to “re-engage” dialogue with social partners on working conditions, to hear “the need for justice” expressed by the demonstrators. He promised that the discussion would concern in particular the evolution of careers or the hardship, and would be held “in the coming weeks”.
— Emmanuel Macron also said he was ready to “shoulder the unpopularity” to implement his reform. “I am not looking to be re-elected (...), but between short-term polls and the general interest of the country, I choose the general interest of the country,” he said.
He also regretted that unions had not presented a “compromise proposal” on the text, stressing that the government had done so, on the other hand, “with the Parliament”.
— During this interview, the head of state assured the Prime Minister, Elisabeth Borne, of his “confidence to lead [his] government team”.
Emmanuel Macron denounced the “cynicism” of certain “large companies” that have made large windfall profits allowing them to buy back their own shares on the stock market, and asked them for “an exceptional contribution” so that “workers can benefit” from this money.
Union leaders describe the interview as a joke, calling Macron a liar
French national newspapers 'Le Parisien' reported that two of the main French union leaders have said Emmanuel Macron was “in denial and lying” about the position of unions in this crisis.
Another union leader added that this interview was " a joke, given millions of people protesting in the streets”.
Emmanuel Macron sets three priorities: full employment, republican order and better living progress with school, health and ecology
Emmanuel Macron has explained that he wants to “tackle head-on” the subject of professional fatigue, career-ending and retraining.
The pension reform does provide for adjustments, but these remain marginal and still vague. Rather than reinstating the risk factors removed in 2017 – as requested by the unions, it is proposed to create three “ergonomic risks” (carrying heavy loads, arduous postures, mechanical vibrations) within a new investment fund for the prevention of professional fatigue with a dedicated budget.
However, everything has yet to be defined.
For Macron, a “decarbonized economy” is key to France's future
Full employment, decent healthcare services and security are key for Emmanuel Macron in 2030. According to him, “these are the basic needs we need to take care of” in order for the French economy to get back on track.
For the French president, the COVID-19 crisis has led “many” to believe governmental subsidies were “a given”. For him, there is a need to understand that “we need to get back to work” to counter the debt which emanated from this crisis.
French PM Elisabeth Borne has president Macron's “whole confidence"
Emmanuel Macron stated again his confidence towards Elisabeth Borne's government: "A majority has been expressed in the parliament for this reform".
Macron: “We will not accept any outbursts in the street”
Discussing past pension reforms, Macron stated that protests have been common in the past history of France. But in his opinion, more is needed from French people: “we know and understand that we are asking [French people] for more efforts; but that is only to improve their future”.
In his opinion, there is also a “need for justice”: he acknowledges that many people may be unhappy with the law, but that the problem lies elsewhere: “we need to put more work, with unions and social partners, on career-ending paths for jobs considered more difficult for the people".
Macron: “We need to be responsible”
For the French president, the parliament debates have “enriched” the reform proposal. Unions, on the other hand, have "not been willing to compromise".
French president Emmanuel Macron interview starts
The pension reform will still be on its way. "The text will follow its course, and will be enacted as soon as possible according to the law", he added. Commenting on the importance of the pension reform, the French president explained that France needs this reform: "Opposition parties in France do not have the courage to say that this reform is necessary for our children".