President Emmanuel Macron on September 21, 2023 in Paris (AFP/Daniel LEAL)
Pressed by the opposition to act more in the face of inflation, Emmanuel Macron asked distributors on Sunday to sell fuel “at cost” and no longer at a loss as the executive had hoped in vain, while announcing the return of “limited” compensation for “workers”.
Faced with the outcry from mass distribution, the Head of State took a step back in the 8:00 p.m. news on TF1 and France 2.
The authorization for selling at a loss, expected in a text this Wednesday in the Council of Ministers, will not “be there” in the end. “We keep it as a threat,” the president said.
On the other hand, Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne will ask the sector this week “to do so at cost price”, he explained.
While reaffirming the exit from “whatever it takes”, he also invited the government to reintroduce a fuel allowance of up to “100 euros per car per year”, similar to that at the start of the year. If the contours are still to be defined, it will be “limited to workers” who “need to ride” and will not go beyond half of French people who earn the least.
On the food price front, Emmanuel Macron once again brought out the pressure he intends to exert on the “60 largest agri-food manufacturers” to reach “an agreement on the moderation of margins”. “We have large groups who have caused the prices of some of their brands to skyrocket,” he lamented, promising controls.
“DIY”, denounced in return the RN deputy Sébastien Chenu on BFM, when the boss of LR Eric Ciotti estimated to the AFP that Mr. Macron had “not taken the measure of the difficulties that the French are experiencing in the daily in the decline in purchasing power”.
– “Ecology is the answer” –
The executive is under pressure at the start of the school year to further protect the purchasing power of the French.
While he must present on Monday the ecological planning planned by his government to meet France’s objectives on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, Emmanuel Macron tried to link the two subjects. On purchasing power, “ecology is the answer”, he insisted, thanks to the gradual exit from fossil fuels.
To avoid leaving rural areas “without a solution”, he assured that the government would not ban gas boilers, while promising to support the deployment of “heat pumps”.
President Emmanuel Macron and King Charles III on September 21, 2023 in Paris (POOL/AFP/Ludovic MARIN)
He also said, very clearly, that he wanted France to exit coal by 2027 by converting its last two power stations.
The interview with the Head of State came at the end of a week marked by the visits to France of King Charles III and Pope Francis in France, against the backdrop of the Rugby World Cup organized in France.
“There are few countries in the world today that can meet concomitant challenges of this nature,” he said, telling the French: “You can be proud.”
But he was immediately questioned about the speech of the sovereign pontiff who, in Marseille, was harsh towards the political class on the fate of migrants who die trying to cross the Mediterranean.
Pope Francis and President Emmanuel Macron on September 23, 2023 in Marseille (POOL/AFP/Andreas SOLARO)
“The pope is right to call for this surge against indifference”, but “we French, we are doing our part”, replied Emmanuel Macron who spoke with the head of the Catholic Church on Saturday and attended his mass at the Stade Vélodrome.
“We cannot accommodate all the misery in the world,” he added, paraphrasing former socialist Prime Minister Michel Rocard.
– Departure from Niger –
He also reiterated his desire for European solutions, in particular to help Italy with the influx of migrants on the island of Lampedusa.
But he did not specify how he intended, on the domestic level, to have the future immigration law adopted which still does not bring together a parliamentary majority, only mentioning his wish for an “intelligent compromise”, in particular on the controversial subject of regularization of undocumented immigrants for professions in shortage.
Inflation in France (AFP/Sylvie HUSSON, Samuel BARBOSA)
Finally, Emmanuel Macron had to react to two major diplomatic crises.
After displaying unwavering firmness, the president ended up moving on to Niger where the soldiers who carried out a coup at the end of July are demanding the departure of the French. The French ambassador will return “in the coming hours” and the French troops based there by “the end of the year”.
The head of state, who tried in the past to mediate the conflict in Nagorno Karabakh, also said he was “very vigilant about the territorial integrity of Armenia”, stressing that Azerbaijan “threatens “the common border after his lightning victory in this secessionist region mainly populated by Armenians.
© 2023 AFP
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