President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday sought to breathe new life into his ultimate time period with a promise for a “stronger and fairer” France, at a uncommon information convention peppered with a string of bulletins aimed toward forging larger civic duty and safety.
With over three years of his second and ultimate time period to run, Macron has been on the again foot in latest weeks after a sequence of crises and a rising problem from the far proper.
Final week he introduced a brand new cupboard with a pronounced tilt to the suitable, naming Gabriel Attal, 34, as France’s youngest-ever prime minister, and adopted this together with his first full-scale home press convention in half a decade.
He introduced a trial that might result in faculty uniforms turning into obligatory within the subsequent two years, mentioned all youngsters ought to study France’s nationwide anthem “La Marseillaise”, and unveiled an thought for all schoolchildren to take drama programs.
“I’m satisfied that we have now the idea to succeed,” Macron mentioned, telling reporters gathered underneath the chandeliers of the Elysee Palace “our youngsters will dwell higher tomorrow than we dwell right this moment”.
“France can be stronger… if we’re extra united, if we re-learn to share values, a standard tradition, respect within the classroom, on the street, in public transport and in retailers,” he mentioned, watched by his new cupboard group.
Getting into even into the every day lives of households, he introduced that he wished to “regulate the usage of screens amongst younger youngsters”, although it was not instantly clear how this is able to be carried out.
Macron additionally promised order by “higher controlling our borders, by combating in opposition to uncivilised behaviour with a doubling of the police presence in our streets, by combating in opposition to medication, by combating in opposition to radical Islam”.
His feedback got here as his Training Minister Amelie Oudea-Castera, promoted within the reshuffle to go a brand new tremendous ministry of schooling and sports activities, is being bitterly attacked over her determination to ship all three of her youngsters to a personal faculty.
The row, which has overshadowed the cupboard reshuffle introduced final week, was sparked when she mentioned she despatched one little one to a personal faculty due to quick staffing at his public institution.
The minister was loudly booed Tuesday as she visited the boy’s former faculty in a bid to clear the air with academics.
Macron, already underneath hearth for not appointing girls to high places of work of state, advised the information convention that her feedback had been “clumsy” and that she had been proper to later apologise.
However with the minister watching on, Macron mentioned he felt “indulgence for her” as he had himself offended individuals, “specifically girls”, firstly of his time period in workplace.
The president, accused by opponents of being aloof and even of getting monarchical tendencies, frequently solutions questions from reporters whereas overseas however has made a behavior of just about by no means holding a full-scale press convention at house.
However Macron is hoping to reboot a second time period in workplace hobbled by the dearth of a parliamentary majority, after mass protests in opposition to a pensions reform and divisions inside his ranks over an immigration invoice final yr.
Analysts say the Elysee is genuinely involved that the far-right Nationwide Rally (RN) led by Marine Le Pen and her youthful protege Jordan Bardella, 28, may defeat pro-Macron forces not simply in European elections in June but additionally within the 2027 presidential vote.
Macron accused the RN of being the “social gathering of collective impoverishment” and “of lies”.
“I’m happy to have been in a position to stop this operation (by defeating the far-right within the earlier 2022 presidential election) and I’ll do all the things to proceed this as a result of it’s good for the nation,” Macron mentioned.
However writing on X, Le Pen mentioned that Macron’s “nice assembly with the nation” had merely been over two hours of “interminable chatter” with out “imaginative and prescient and above all with out options to the crucial issues of the French”.