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France's Macron defends controversial policy

Paris, Oct 16 (IANS) In his first TV appearance since he took office on May 7, French President Emmanuel Macron has defended his controversial reform which is criticised by the discontent as favouring the rich.

“I’m the president of all the French,” Macron told TF1 television in response to growing critics over his pro-liberal roadmap, Xinhua reported.

“We’re taking care of the France where things aren’t going well.”

“I’m doing what I said I would do during the election campaign…There will always be resistances, comments … I am not here to manage or reform, but to transform,” the 39-year-old head of state stressed.

Macron’s approval ratings have tumbled since his election five months ago, pulled down by labour reforms, budget cuts and the decrease in housing subsidies.

An ifop poll released in September showed 53 per cent of the respondents were dissatisfied with the President’s policy. Although down from 57 per cent recorded in August, it remains high.

In further sign of growing social pressure, the novice liberal top official was scorched by first street protests against his proposal to scrap the wealth tax and lessen labour rules that opponents say are not in favour of low-income workers.

In a 70-minute interview, Macron cited long-running rise in jobless claims as an example of “French weakness”.

He said, “For our society to get better, we need people who succeed. We shouldn’t be jealous of them, we should say: ‘fantastic’.”

“Unemployment rate is gradually decreasing. You’ll see the full impact of the reforms carried out by the government in one and half to two years.”

Macron said the new labour law will offer “the flexibility” to the small enterprises to enable them to create employment.

To his promise to bring down unemployment rate, which currently stands at 9.7 per cent, Macron said 15 billion euros (17.72 billion USD) will be earmarked for training of jobseekers.

“The unemployed need much more training. The long-term people without work are often men and women who do not have the skills that enable them to find job,” he said.

Post Source: Ians feed

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