During the meeting at the Assemblée Nationale on Tuesday afternoon, Ayrault responded to a question from Socialist MP Philippe Martin on competitiveness with the perceived insult that prompted nearly all of the UMP members present to walk out in protest.
“We could have the impression that the right are rooting for the failure of France. I just want success for France,” he said.
Jean-Francois Copé, National Secretary of the UMP, said the whole party was “insulted” by Ayrault’s remarks.
“There comes a moment at this level of name calling where we have to say stop,” he said.
UMP MP Axel Poniatowski added: “This is indecent and unworthy of your role."