Left Menu
Development News Edition

France won't ease reforms if far-right make EU gains - PM

Reuters | Updated: 16-05-2019 15:48 IST | Created: 16-05-2019 14:39 IST
France won't ease reforms if far-right make EU gains - PM
Image Credit: IANS

President Emmanuel Macron will press ahead with a social and economic reform agenda that spurred months of anti-government protests in France even if the far-right comes out on top in European elections, his prime minister said on Thursday. Ten days from the vote in France, Marine Le Pen's Rassemblement National party, which is running on a campaign to overhaul the European Union from within, is level with Macron's En Marche in opinion polls.

"Does (the vote) totally change commitments the president made during the presidential campaign, ... does it change the (parliamentary) majority's determination, the whole logic of the government's actions? The answer is no," Edouard Philippe said. "Things are going to continue, to be stepped up for the good of the country because we have committed to do it," he said on France Info radio.

The vote for the European Parliament's 571 seats has turned into a showdown between pro-EU and eurosceptic forces in France, where 74 seats are up for grabs. Le Pen, whose lead candidate is a clean-cut 23-year-old with a knack for connecting with voters, has in past months shifted tack, dropping calls for France to quit the euro currency and for the end of the EU.

Elected in 2017 on a pro-business reform platform, Macron lost little time at the start of his presidency pushing through a major overhaul of the labour code to ease hiring and firing rules while setting a flat 30% tax capital to encourage investment in businesses. The 41-year-old president has since refocused his reform drive on boosting households' income after facing months of street protests over the cost of living and elitism.

Philippe said that unemployment figures on Thursday showing joblessness at a decade low were evidence the reforms were beginning to pay off, though further efforts were still needed. The government's next major reform steps are to overhaul the unemployment and pensions systems this year.

Asked if the government would change course in case of far-right gains, Philippe said: "I don't think so. The government in general needs to be consistent and coherent." Le Pen's movement hopes to form an alliance with like-minded parties and control up to 80 seats in the European Parliament - a number that would see it gain substantial influence in an assembly with oversight of legislation affecting more than 500 million EU citizens.


TRENDING

OPINION / BLOG / INTERVIEW

‘Discounted Deaths’ and COVID 19: Anthropology of Death and Emotions

Death is a social event rather than the mere cessation of biological functions. As seen by anthropologists, death is not just physical but intensely social, cultural, and political....

Indigenous knowledge of communities a must for maximizing impact of community work

Generally, it has been observed that the majority of the academicians in higher education institutions neglect the wisdom of community people and throw their weight around thinking that they know everything and the community knows nothing. ...

In rebuking FBR, Pakistan’s courts take a stand for public health

The system, if implemented effectively, will allow Pakistans revenue service to combat the illicit trade in tobacco products and potentially add hundreds of millions of dollars to the states budget each year. ...

Dissecting how COVID-19 is catalyzing the trajectory of New World Order

The ensuing pandemic of COVID-19 has hit the globalization in two ways firstly, shrinking the importance of globalization as an economic force by curtailing mobility through worldwide lockdowns, and secondly, rejuvenating the idea of indig...

Videos

Latest News

Trump set to order review of law that protects social media companies

U.S. President Donald Trump is expected to order a review of a law that has long protected internet companies, including Twitter and Facebook , an extraordinary attempt to intervene in the media that experts said was unlikely to survive leg...

Fire rips through crowded Cameroon prison

A fire tore through an overcrowded maximum security prison in Cameroons port city of Douala on Thursday leading to the hospitalisation of three prisoners with serious burns, a local fire chief said. Firefighters backed up by police were abl...

France to open bars and beaches in second phase of easing lockdown

France will allow restaurants, bars and cafes to reopen from June 2, though with more restrictions in Paris than elsewhere, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said on Thursday as he announced the next phase in easing the countrys coronavirus l...

Chinese grad students may be next hit by US-China tensions

The Trump administration may expel thousands of Chinese graduate students enrolled at US universities in the latest sign of tensions between Washington and Beijing that are raging over trade, the coronavirus pandemic, human rights and the s...

Give Feedback