Recalling the ‘yellow vest’ protest movement of 2018 against rising prices, Macron told US news channel CBS in an interview, that the French economy had to be transformed.
“We have to increase the price of carbon and we have to help this transition to happen for entrepreneurs and our households,” he said.
“If you go to them …say, now guys, you will have to adapt yourself, you will pay a much higher price and so on, I can tell you you will increase social inequalities.
“I made such a mistake, I have to say, and I can …tell you in 2018 because we underestimated the impact on the middle classes,” Macron told the France the Nation programme.
“So you have to accompany people.
“And we have to accept for a few years to invest public money in these transitions to help innovation and diffusion of this innovation,” the president said in the English-language interview.
“We have to help middle classes and poor people to make this change with us.
“And I can tell you with a lot of humility, I’m even more sure because I made mistakes myself.”
France’s ‘yellow vest’ movement saw often violent demonstrations and ran on through 2019 before petering out as government made a number of financial concessions.
The French government convened a citizens’ panel to look at how France can hit its environmental goals and is in the process of passing new laws on environmental measures which includes banning short-haul domestic flights.