AFP — French President Emmanuel Macron, under fire from swelling protest, insisted Thursday he would “never retreat” and cast himself as a progressive voice on the global stage.
Visiting Argentina for the summit of the Group of 20 major economies, Macron said he heard “the legitimate anger, the impatience, the suffering of a part of the people who want to live better, faster.”
But he said he would “pursue with force” his reforms “without giving up ambitions” or “giving in to demagoguery.”
“It will be up to me to make additional decisions in the weeks and months to come, but they will never be retreats but rather, for this moment, more intense,” he told the French community of Buenos Aires.
Macron made no direct mention of the “yellow vests,” the growing movement in France of protesters who have dressed in the quickly recognizable jackets of emergency workers.
The demonstrations were triggered by Macron’s hikes in fuel taxes — a measure he believes is needed to address the increasingly urgent but still largely long-term challenge of climate change, but which opponents say hits the poor immediately.
Macron, attending a summit alongside US President Donald Trump, again cast himself as a champion of forward-looking international policies.
“Many would like to think that we can resolve our difficulties better by being belligerent and isolationist and by closing our borders,” he said.
He instead defended globalization, which he said “has massively reduced poverty around the world and has brought much more calm to the world than expected.”