Macron: ‘I made mistakes on France’s green transition’

French President Emmanuel Macron admitted that he had made mistakes in under-estimating the impact of the green transition on ordinary people and now realises the need to "accompany" them and help them adapt.

Macron: 'I made mistakes on France's green transition'
Photo: Nicolas Tucat/AFP

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.

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French lawmakers push for abortion rights to be enshrined in constitution

After the seismic decision of the US Supreme Court on Friday, French MPs are calling for the right to abortion in France to be protected by the constitution.

French lawmakers push for abortion rights to be enshrined in constitution

Lawmakers from French President Emmanuel Macron’s Renaissance party are to propose a parliamentary bill on Saturday that would enshrine the right to abortion in the constitution. 

The move comes after the US Supreme Court overturned the landmark 1973 “Roe v. Wade” decision on Friday.

“In France we guarantee and advance the rights of women. We protect them,” said Aurore Bergé – the head of Renaissance in the Assemblée nationale and one of the key sponsors of the bill. 

Another co-sponsor, Marie-Pierre Rixain tweeted: “What happens in elsewhere cannot happen in France. We must protect the right to abortion for future generations. 

In 2018 and 2019, Emmanuel Macron’s party – which back then was known as La République en Marche – refused to back bills proposed by left-wing party, La France Insoumise, to enshrine abortion rights into the constitution. 

In a Saturday interview with France Inter, Bergé suggested that the success of Marine Le Pen’s Rassemblement National during parliamentary elections earlier this month had created a sense of newfound urgency. 

She described the far-right MPs as “fierce opponents of women’s access to abortion” and said it was important “to take no risk” in securing it. 

READ MORE France’s Macron condemns US abortion ruling

French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne has come out in support of the bill. 

The left-wing opposition block, NUPES, also backs it and had planned to propose an identical piece legislation of its own on Monday. 

Macron is seeking parliamentary allies to pass reforms after his formation lost its majority in legislative elections earlier this month.

The legal timeframe to terminate a pregnancy in France was extended from 12 to 14 weeks in the last legislature.

Changing the constitution requires the National Assembly and Senate to adopt the same text, then a three-fifths majority of parliament sitting in congress. The other option is a referendum.