French President Emmanuel Macron spoke of a “difficult” and “hard” autumn, both on the front of the military conflict in Ukraine, and on the front of the French and European economy, during a televised interview he gave, on the occasion of today’s national holiday of France.
An interview that traditionally takes place after the military parade in the garden of the Champs-Élysées Palace, established during the presidency of Giscard D’Estaing and usually watched by over 10 million French people.
The tradition was “broken” by Nicolas Sarkozy who avoided it, while for Emmanuel Macron it is the second in his five years in the Presidency.
Referring specifically to the issues of defense, the French president noted that the increase in the spending of the armed forces in recent years has been and will continue to be important in the coming years, stressing that France is the strongest military power in Europe.
He was in favor of strengthening and European defense whose role should be, as he said, complementary to that of NATO.
Referring to the Ukrainian one, he emphasized that the military conflicts in the autumn will be tougher, pointing out that France wants to stop the war without getting involved, that is, without a world war.
Referring to Russia, he emphasized that it uses the supply of natural gas as a weapon of war and estimated that it will probably completely cut off its supply to European countries.
He also noted that France is less exposed than other European countries, such as Germany, which he said his country would help.
He also noted that there are alternative sources of supply for Europe, such as Norway, Qatar, Nigeria, the US and other countries.
On the subject of energy, he also mentioned that his strategy is to save and that for this purpose the state agencies have already been instructed to implement programs to reduce consumption.
He also stated that saving energy is the overall responsibility of all French citizens, stressing at the same time that it is also compatible with the goals set to combat climate change.
Emmanuel Macron also advocated reforming the European energy market, the price of which he said depends largely on gas prices.
As far as France is concerned, he was in favor of strengthening the production of nuclear energy, saying that it is necessary and essential.
Regarding the measures to be adopted inside France, the French president referred in principle to financial support measures for workers who are forced to use their cars.
He also advocated reforming the French labor market, saying the goal was to achieve full employment, but also to gradually raise the retirement age to 65 by 2030.
On this subject, he said that France together with Denmark have the most taxes in Europe, but also the most generous insurance systems.
He said that his aim is not to increase taxation further and that to this end the retirement age should be raised.
Also, when asked about the accusations against him regarding his contacts with the American transportation service company Uber, Emmanuel Macron repeated that if he deemed it necessary he would do it again, pointing out at the same time that at that time he was Minister of Economy and that his activities it was known to the government and the then president of the Republic, Francois Hollande.
In essence, he said Uber created jobs that taxi companies were unable to create due to their oligopolistic nature.
He also noted that the employment status of those employed on digital platforms should be agreed.
Commenting finally on the fact that in the coming years he will be obliged to govern France without a parliamentary majority, Emmanuel Macron emphasized that all political forces should get used to looking for “responsible compromises”.
He did, however, criticize the Republican party, which this week rejected a coronavirus protection bill, pooling its votes with those of Melanchthon and Le Pen.
Macron spoke of a “baroque alliance” and characteristically said that Republican voters did not vote for them to work with extreme political formations.
In conclusion, Emmanuel Macron emphasized that the French who voted for him in the presidential elections and did not give him an absolute majority in the parliamentary elections, were basically in favor of reaching compromises in the political life of the country.
However, he noted at the same time that the French Constitution created by Charles De Gaulle provides possibilities for the current president of the Republic to overcome any impasses.