Economic and political changes will be pushed through rapidly in 2018, according to French President Emmanuel Macron. He also said he plans to jolt Europe into reforming too.
In a televised New Year’s speech, the 40-year-old president made clear he would tackle even potentially thorny domestic issues, like a new immigration law.
As reported by the Reuters news agency, Macron, who left political rivals reeling when he won power barely a year after launching a new centrist movement, has already rattled his way through an overhaul of French labour rules, in spite of street protests and a pushback from unions.
“I will ensure all voices, including contrary ones, are heard. But all the same, I will not stop acting,” Macron said, seated a marble table in his office at the Elysee Palace. The formula of the speech was largely in keeping with the one favoured by many of his predecessors, despite speculation Macron would seek to shake up France’s New Year presidential rite of passage too.
According to Reuters, the French government is planning changes in 2018 to immigration laws that have sown unease even among some members of Macron’s Republic on the Move (LREM) movement. They include a tougher line on deporting migrants who have been refused asylum.
Macron vowed the country would continue to welcome refugees and immigrants, though he added France could not do so “without rules”.
About Europe, Macron said “we need to recover a European ambition to be a more sovereign”.
“I need for us, together, not to give way on anything, neither to nationalists nor to the sceptics.”