The allegations come in the latest data-based investigation by leading international news outlets based on leaked files, announced on social media as #UberFiles.
A report in France’s Le Monde daily, citing documents, text messages and witnesses, alleges that Uber came to a secret “deal” with Macron when he was economy minister between 2014 and 2016.
Opposition deputies have denounced what they say appears to have been close collaboration between Macron and Uber at a time when the company was trying to get around tight government regulation of their sector.
Contacted by AFP, Uber France confirmed that the two sides had been in contact. The meetings with Macron had been in the normal course of his ministerial duties, which covered the private-hire sector.
The president’s office told AFP that at that time Macron had, as economy minister, “naturally” been in contact with “many companies involved in the profound change in services that has occurred over the years mentioned, which should be facilitated by unravelling certain administrative or regulatory locks”.
But Mathilde Panot, parliamentary leader of the left-wing opposition France Unbowed party, denounced on Twitter what she described as the “pillage of the country” during Macron’s time as minister under president François Hollande.
She described Macron as a “lobbyist” for a “US multinational aiming to permanently deregulate labour law”.
Communist Party leader Fabien Roussel described Le Monde’s story as “damning revelations about the active role played by Emmanuel Macron, then minister, to facilitate the development of Uber in France.
“Against all our rules, all our social rights and against workers’ rights,” he posted on Twitter.
Communist MP Pierre Dharreville called for a parliamentary inquiry into the affair.
The Uber Files investigation is based on a leak of thousands of documents to Britain’s Guardian newspaper from an anonymous source, and has been coordinated by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.
The ICIJ is working with 42 media partners around the world on the story.
First as economy minister and then as president, Macron has positioned himself as champion of the ‘start-up economy’ and has backed companies that ‘disrupt’ traditional business models.
Uber did successfully enter the French market with the VTC ride-hailing service, despite bitter and sometimes violent protests from tax drivers, and is now present in multiple French cities.
French courts, in common with other European countries, have ruled that Uber drivers are employees, not self-employed, and the company must give them full rights including sick pay and holidays.