French minister says Macron’s reelection would boost growth

Dec 17, 2021, 1:04 PM | Updated: 1:32 pm

NEW YORK (AP) — French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire says President Emmanuel Macron’s potential reelection next year is “very important” to further boost growth — in a clear endorsement of a candidacy that’s not yet been formally announced.

Macron is widely expected to seek a second term in the presidential election scheduled for April, but hasn’t officially revealed his intentions.

In an interview with the Associated Press Friday during a two-day visit to the United States, Le Maire said: “I think it’s very important that Emmanuel Macron is reelected. I think our country needs consistency and stability.”

Polls for months have shown Macron, a pro-business centrist, to be the front-runner in next year’s presidential election, where he’s set to face major contenders from the right and the far-right.

“We must have a democratic, serene debate with (far-right candidate) Eric Zemmour, with other far-right leaders, to say: ‘Your vision of France is not my vision of France,'” Le Maire said, noting that boosting growth is one response to the concerns expressed by the French.

Since Macron’s election in May 2017, “we had some successes, we also had some failures,” Le Maire said. “We failed to implement the pension reform. That’s a regret because it was needed. We were not able to do it. We’ll do it in the next term.”

Protracted, intense street protests and the COVID-19 pandemic led Macron to delay the difficult overhauling of France’s pension system, which had been a key campaign promise.

“When you look at (Macron’s) five-year term … France is in the right direction, it is on the path to success,” Le Maire added, noting that the French government passed measures to make the labor market more flexible, and cut taxes on businesses.

“This is a key point I want to tell all investors: France has become the most attractive country in Europe,” he insisted.

France has scheduled to further cut its corporate tax from over 33% five years ago to 25% next year, he said. “So I’m telling all American entrepreneurs: come to France, this is the place to be.”

In a long interview broadcast on national television on Wednesday, Macron said France has a “much stronger economy” despite going through the COVID-19 crisis. France’s unemployment rate is at 8.1%, down from about 10% when he was elected, according to national statistics agency INSEE.

INSEE estimated the French economy would grow 6.7% this year, the highest rate since 1969.

Asked about French views about how to face global competition from China, Le Maire said “we are all aware that the rise of China is a major concern … Then you have to define your strategy. Either to confront China — this is the American choice — or to engage with China. This is the French, and, I would say, the European choice.”

“For the biggest challenges of the 21st century you need China,” he said, also citing a new global taxation system, global agreement on reduction of debt for poor countries, and US-China agreement on fighting climate change.

Macron last week said he does not support a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games, in contrast with the U.S., Canada and U.K. which made the decision to protest human rights abuses in China.

“There are important problems related to human rights” in China, Le Maire acknowledged. “Our strategy is to divide the problems and to talk to China in a very frank manner.”

“We are talking to China on human rights, we are talking on trade, we are talking about intellectual property, about access to markets about technological issues,” he listed. “I think a step by step approach … is the best one to get some very concrete results.”

___

Corbet contributed from Paris.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

A students joins Indigenous women in a rally to show support for the recent protests and national s...
Associated Press

Ecuador president cuts gasoline price amid Indigenous strike

QUITO, Ecuador (AP) — Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso announced a cut in gasoline prices Sunday that appeared to fall short of the reduction demanded by Indigenous leaders to end a strike that has paralyzed parts of the country for two weeks. The reduction cuts the price of gasoline by 10 cents per gallon. The Confederation […]
22 hours ago
FILE - Andrew Giuliani, left, a Republican candidate for Governor of New York, is joined by his fat...
Associated Press

Andrew Giuliani invokes famous dad in bid for NY governor

NEW YORK (AP) — After 2020, Rudy Giuliani is not someone most politicians would summon to hold a news conference on their behalf. As the frontman of former President Donald Trump’s false claims of election fraud, Giuliani made notorious appearances before cameras where he espoused baseless theories — once while doing an impression of actor […]
22 hours ago
Associated Press

Home prices, General Mills earns, consumer spending

A look at some of the key business events and economic indicators upcoming this week: HOME PRICE MONITOR A limited inventory of homes for sale coupled with strong demand has helped keep U.S. home prices climbing sharply. S&P’s CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index tracks the value of homes in 20 major U.S. metropolitan areas. It […]
22 hours ago
President Joe Biden, right, walks with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, center, ...
Associated Press

Tale of 2 summits: ‘America’s back’ to America’s backsliding

ELMAU, Germany (AP) — One year ago, Joe Biden strode into his first Group of Seven summit as president and confidently told the closest U.S. allies that “America is Back.” Now, many of them are worrying that America is backsliding. As Biden meets this week in the Bavarian Alps with the heads of G-7 leading […]
22 hours ago
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz with from left, Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commi...
Associated Press

AP source: US providing anti-air defense system to Ukraine

ELMAU, Germany (AP) — President Joe Biden is set to announce that the U.S. is providing advanced an surface-to-air missile system to Ukraine, as well as additional artillery support, according to a person familiar with the matter, in the latest assistance meant to help the country defend against Russia’s four-month invasion. The U.S. is purchasing […]
22 hours ago
People wearing face masks walk past a bank's electronic board showing the Hong Kong share index in ...
Associated Press

Asian shares rally after Wall Street logs rare winning week

BANGKOK (AP) — Asian shares advanced Monday after Wall Street ended a rare winning week, capped by a 3.1% gain on Friday for the benchmark S&P 500. U.S. futures and oil prices also were higher. Optimism over China’s progress in controlling coronavirus outbreaks, as schools and businesses reopen, was also fueling buying, analysts said. Stocks […]
22 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Vaccines are safe if you are pregnant or breastfeeding

Are you pregnant? Do you have a friend or loved one who’s expecting?
...
Christina O’Haver

BE FAST to spot a stroke

Every 40 seconds—that’s how often someone has a stroke in the United States. It’s the fifth leading cause of death among Americans, with someone dying of a stroke every 3.5 minutes.
...
Canvas Annuity

The secret to guaranteed retirement income

Annuities aren’t really a secret, but they are so misunderstood that they might as well be. Once you understand what an annuity is and how it can benefit you, you could decide this “secret” is the perfect supplement to your retirement plan.
French minister says Macron’s reelection would boost growth