‘Building a new France is my obsession’: Macron vows to get out of ‘death valley’

President Emmanuel Macron has said he believes the yellow vest protests that rocked France since last year have been good for him as they made him listen and communicate better, in an interview published on Thursday in which he vowed to continue building a new a France and get out of 'death valley'.

'Building a new France is my obsession': Macron vows to get out of 'death valley'

The yellow vest (gilets jaunes) protests, which often descended into violent clashes with the police, erupted last November, with demonstrators accusing Macron of being aloof and unaware of the needs of ordinary French people.

Now over two years into his five-year term, Macron is hoping in the next phase of his term to focus on his ambitious vision for reforming not just France but also the EU.

“In a certain way, the gilets jaunes were very good for me,” Macron told Time magazine in an interview for a front-page cover story. “Because it reminded me who I should be.”

He acknowledged that the protests had made him aware that he needed to be less disconnected.

“My challenge is to listen to people much better than I did at the very beginning,” he said, for the story entitled “Macron's Moment”.

“I probably provided the feeling that I wanted to reform even against people.

“And sometimes my impatience was felt as an impatience (with) the French people. That is not the case,” he said, adding that his impatience was with France's system itself. 

“Now, I think I need to take more time to explain where we are and what we want to do exactly.”

Time quoted Macron as saying he was currently in a “Death Valley” period between setting out his reforms and seeing them bearing fruit.

“The end of Death Valley is the day you have results,” he said. “Building this new France is my obsession.”

Analysts say that for now, Macron appears to have seen off the worst of the yellow vest protests, which are still taking place every weekend but on nothing like the scale of six months ago.

But he has to keep an eye on his own popularity and France's powerful unions as he seeks to implement reforms at home. The Paris metro last Friday saw its worst strike in years over a planned pension overhaul.

He has also taken an active role on the international stage, though his drives to defuse the Iran nuclear dispute and also bring peace to Ukraine could yet be derailed.

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Macron to make live TV broadcast to France

French president Emmanuel Macron will make a live TV broadcast to the nation about the war in Ukraine.

Macron to make live TV broadcast to France

Macron will be on TV on Wednesday at 8pm, the Elysée confirmed earlier on Wednesday.

Macron also tweeted the announcement, saying that his speech will be on the subject of the war in Ukraine.

His office added that the president’s speech “will not touch on other matters” – Macron has only until Friday to confirm whether or not he is running for re-election.

It is widely considered to be extremely unlikely that he would not stand in the April elections, but all candidates have until Friday, March 4th, to make their declaration.

Macron’s team had previously announced a rally in Marseille on Saturday, March 5th, which was expected to be the first official campaign event, but on Tuesday this was cancelled because of the ongoing international crisis.

Macron was at the forefront of international efforts to find a diplomatic resolution to the crisis, and since Russia invaded Ukraine he has remained in close contact with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, and has also spoken – at the request of Zelensky – to Russian premier Vladimir Putin.

The Local will be following Macron’s speech live from 8pm HERE.