Macron calls for dialogues, defends reforms in New Year's address

Tuesday, 2019-01-01 19:13:06
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Fireworks are seen at the Arc de Triomphe during New Year's celebrations in Paris, France. (Source: Tempo.co)
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French President Emmanuel Macron has expressed wishes for "truth, dignity and hope" for 2019 to French people in his traditional end-of-year address.

In a tense social context, heightened by several weeks of protest by the "Yellow Vest" movement, Macron showed himself to be determined, reiterating a call for dialogues and warning against the "megaphone of a hateful crowd" which turns on Jews, homosexuals and foreigners.

Macron expressed wish for truth, which are, he said, wishes for "listening, dialogue, humility." He evoked the necessity to protect oneself against false information and manipulation.

"We can debate everything but to debate falsehoods can lead us astray...let us debate because from there a useful action which unites us can be born," said Macron.

The French president recalled that the country had experienced in 2018 some "great divides, and anger which, coming from far off, exploded: anger against the injustices, ...anger against an administrative system that has become too complex, anger as well against deep changes which questions our society regarding its identity and its sense."

This anger, however excessive, says one thing: "we are not resigned. Our country wants to build a better future, resting on our capacity to invent a new manner to act and to be together. Such is, in my eyes, the lesson of 2018," he said.

Macron reminded in his wishes for truth to not forget that nothing can be built on the basis of "lies or ambiguities." "We live in one of the largest economies in the world, our infrastructure is one of the best in the world, we pay almost nothing for the education of our children, we receive care for a cost among the lowest in developed countries, so let's stop discrediting ourselves," said the French president.

Macron also expressed his wishes for dignity, underlining that many of his compatriots do not feel "respected, regarded," and that it will be necessary to be more responsive to ensure the rights of everyone in society and also to expect responsibilities. Dignity is also respect for everyone, he reminded.

"I saw recently unthinkable things and heard the unacceptable... That some take as a pretext to speak in the name of the people, and being in fact only the megaphone of a hateful crowd, turning on elected officials, on the forces of order, on Jews, on foreigners, it is simply the negation of France," denounced the president.

The French president finally expressed his wishes for hope, especially with the strong action launched by the government for "our schools, our universities, for learning and work-study programs."

According to Macron, who showed himself to be determined to go ahead with the reforms, many of the transformations that people had thought impossible, like those of the employment code or the national rail network, have led to positive things.

"The results cannot be immediate, and the impatience that I share will not justify any renunciation," said Macron, while specifying that the government must continue this work in order to anchor much of these reforms into daily life.

Xinhua