Posts Tagged ‘Macron’

Paris plans to open city halls for homeless in winter

October 14, 2018

Paris’ mayor is planning to adapt part of the Hotel de Ville into a homeless shelter this winter. She is calling for all to chip in to provide a warm place for the estimated 3,000 people without a home of their own.

    
Homeless in Paris (Getty Images/AFP/G. Julien)

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo wants to open the capital’s city halls to the homeless during the winter.

Even the palatial Hotel de Ville, housing the local administration in the city center, will open up space for up to 100 homeless women to receive food and shelter, she said in an interview with the Journal du Dimanche newspaper on Sunday.

Read more: Germany: 150 percent rise in number of homeless since 2014

Two ornate rooms on the ground floor with columns, vaults and marble floors that are used as exhibition and reception areas will be converted instead to provide meals, beds and sanitary areas, she said.

Hidalgo called for a “general mobilization” to house an estimated 3,000 homeless people living on the frigid streets during the winter, adding that the city should lead by example.

“We must all roll up our sleeves. In particular, I invite companies that have unoccupied premises to make them available,” she told the paper.

Paris city hall (picture-alliance/imageBroker)Hotel de Ville

She intends to have 1,500 places for the homeless by the end of the year and hopes the state will take care of the other half.

Other places the city will utilize to house the homeless include vacant municipal buildings and spaces as well as district town halls. The mayor will also open small mobile shelters around the city.

Read more: Berlin and Beyond: Alcoholics, not so anonymous

In February, Paris conducted its first homeless census and found at least 3,000 people were sleeping on the streets.

The so-called Solidarity Night involved hundreds of volunteers and officials taking to the streets to count the number of homeless. The actual number of homeless is believed to be higher.

Hidalgo said another such census would be conducted in February.

https://www.dw.com/en/paris-plans-to-open-city-halls-for-homeless-in-winter/a-45879603

Advertisements

Exclusive interview: France’s Macron concerned about missing Saudi journalist, Iran deal’s future

October 12, 2018
© AFP | French President Macron at this year’s Francophonie summit, which is being held in Armenia.

Video by FRANCE 24

Image result for Emmanuel macron, photos

Latest update : 2018-10-12

In an exclusive interview with FRANCE 24, French President Macron says the disappearance of a Saudi journalist in Turkey is “extremely serious”, and exiting the Iran nuclear deal would be catastrophic. To watch the interview, click on the player.

AFP/ France 24

https://www.france24.com/en/20181012-exclusive-interview-france-24-french-president-emmanuel-macron-saudi-journalist-iran

Thousands take to streets of Paris to protest Macron’s social reforms

October 9, 2018

Thousands of students, pensioners and workers from numerous trade unions are taking to the streets of Paris on Tuesday to demonstrate against President Macron’s proposed welfare reforms, saying they will “disadvantage the weakest in society”.

Five of France’s largest trade unions have banded together to convene the demonstrations, stating in a joint communiqué that “Macron’s policies are part of a programme of individualism that will undermine social justice”.

© Stéphane de Sakutin, AFP (archives) | Demonstrations in Paris on 28 June, 2018.

In total, 15,000 protesters are expected on the streets of Paris; the police predict it will be closer to 2,900.

>> Read more: Today’s French strikes ‘lack vital ingredients’ of ’68 and ’95

Unions are cautious about how successful the day of protest will be. Philippe Martinez, head of the CGT union, said that “it is not always easy to get people out on the streets”, but argued that the event’s “success” should “not be seen as just a matter of how many demonstrators there are”. Similarly, Pascal Pavageau, the leader of the FO union, said he was “expecting nothing at all in terms of numbers” but “a significant movement nevertheless”.

They are planning further mobilisations in the coming months on specific reforms – such as changes to pensions and the unemployment insurance system. But no specific dates have been set.

Pensioners and students join demo

Retirees are joining the protest in anger over the re-evaluation of the pensions, which many say will lead to them losing money.

Students are also expected to join the demonstration, protesting against Macron’s controversial reforms to the Parcoursup system for vocational training.

Nearly one hundred events are planned in other French cities, including Lyon, Nice and Marseille.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

Macron’s struggle to reboot his flagging presidency

October 7, 2018

French leader hopes for lift from reform programme but scepticism persists

French PM is security chief after interior minister quits
Emmanuel Macron, center, was unable to persuade Gérard Collomb to stay in his government .  This Wednesday Sept. 6, 2017 file photo shows French President Emmanuel Macron, center, French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb, right, and Prime Minister Edouard Philippe as they arrive at the Interior Ministry in Paris, France. French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has assumed responsibility for France’s domestic security after the interior minister resigned in an apparent act of defiance toward President Emmanuel Macron. (Francois Guillot, Pool via AP, File) (Francois Guillot)

By Ben Hall in Paris

They were the words his supporters were longing to hear: “People of France, help me.” On a visit to French territories in the Caribbean last month, President Emmanuel Macron came down from his Olympian heights and tried to reconnect with an increasingly dismissive public.

After repeated gaffes, a scandal involving a security aide and tensions within his government, Mr Macron has come to be seen as arrogant and out of touch. His tour of the Antilles was supposed to be the reboot. It was unfortunate, then, that the big talking point of the visit was a selfie of a grinning president flanked by two muscular youths, one brandishing his middle finger. Mr Macron’s critics pounced on an alleged debasement of his office.

“Unforgivable!” tweeted Marine Le Pen, the far-right leader.

Mr Macron was dealt a more serious blow a few days later when Gérard Collomb, his interior minister, walked out of the government, publicly rebuffing the president’s appeals for him to stay. It was the third ministerial departure in as many months.

A cruel cartoon in a French newspaper featured the president flanked by two ministers, with Mr Collomb wielding his middle finger. Despite his attempts to be more in touch with his people, Mr Macron cannot seem to help himself. On a visit to the home village of Charles de Gaulle on Thursday, to celebrate 60 years of France’s fifth republic, the president was reminded of the general’s dictum that the French had no right to complain. Mr Macron concurred.

“The country would be in a different place if we were all like that . . . We don’t realise how lucky we are.” With his approval rating hovering around 33 per cent, many wonder whether he will fall into the same trap as his recent predecessors — a rapid loss of popularity that saps ambition and leads to defeat.

Mr Macron’s allies say the answer to his difficulties lies in less haughtiness, more disciplined communications and above all sticking to his wide-ranging reform plans to deliver tangible change. “The French are impatient,” said one official.

“They want results. They believed in Emmanuel Macron. They still do. But they are questioning us. They still know the status quo is not sustainable. But they want to know whether it will pay off. There would be nothing worse at this stage than to water things down.”

The government is planning to forge ahead with the next wave of the reform programme. After loosening rules on redundancies and overhauling the state railways, it wants to cut the cost of a generous unemployment insurance system and create more incentives for the jobless to take up work. It has plans to make the pension system fairer and has embarked on a shake-up of benefits and services to lift more people out of poverty.

A bill in parliament contains scores of measures to make it easier to run a business. Its overall impact on growth may be modest but it should lift competitiveness with no cost to the Treasury, according to senior officials. Some Macron loyalists say it is not just the degree of reform but the way it is put in place that counts — an implied rebuke of a president who seems to want to run the country with a handful of aides from the Elysée Palace.

“I’m one of the first to be irritated and exasperated” by the blunders, said Stanislas Guerini, an MP and one of the founding members of La République en Marche. “But how do we bounce back? Not by changing direction [on reform]. We need to reconnect with a very important founding principle of En Marche: empowering the people and civil society to make change happen.”

One senior official played down the scale of Mr Macron’s problems. “Just look around us,” he said, referring to Brexit, Catalan separatism, Angela Merkel’s coalition battles and anti-establishment Italian government locking horns with the markets and Brussels.

Others pointed to France’s sharply improved image among international investors, partly the result of unpopular choices on tax early on, deemed to favour the wealthy. Things could soon improve for Mr Macron. Taxes on households will be cut by a net €6bn in 2019, including the scrapping of property tax and reductions in social charges.

Economic growth is solid after a soft first half of the year.

“He’s in a difficult situation between reform and results, which is probably the most difficult place to be,” said Laurent Bigorgne, of the Institut Montaigne, a think-tank. Others question the validity of opinion polls and historical comparisons since Mr Macron’s rise to power shook up the French political system. Mr Macron’s opponents on the far-right and far-left remain a potent threat but their overall electoral appeal seems limited. The mainstream opposition parties are in disarray.

There is one previous leader on the minds of some senior Macron supporters but he is not French. It is Gerhard Schroeder, the centre-left chancellor who modernised Germany’s economy model only to alienate his party and lose the elections before the reforms bore fruit.

“Politics is not only about results,” said one. “Sometimes they come too late.”

https://www.ft.com/content/5924fcb2-c87a-11e8-ba8f-ee390057b8c9

Paris bomb plot claims hurt Tehran’s hope for EU help against US sanctions

October 5, 2018

Accusations in France that Iran was behind a foiled bomb plot near Paris on June 30 seem to have put paid to any hopes President Hassan Rouhani had to use Europe to beat crippling US sanctions.

The blow to Tehran comes as European governments were working on a mechanism that would have allowed Iran to continue to reap the economic benefits of compliance with a landmark 2015 nuclear deal with the US and a number of European nations, which was jettisoned by American President Donald Trump in May.

French President Emmanuel Macron (R) meets with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York on Sept. 25, 2018. (AFP / Ludovic Marin)

“Such allegations, whether true or not, at this moment in time will serve only to harm both Rouhani’s government and the Iranian nation,” Saeed Leylaz, a lecturer at Tehran’s Shahid Beheshti University, told Agence France Presse.

“I am certain this (allegation) is a source of worry for the government, because it happened while the Islamic Republic needs every single relationship and link with the West, minus the United States,” said Leylaz.

Oubai Shahbandar, a Syrian-American analyst and fellow at the New America Foundation’s International Security Program, said that while the threat of Daesh terrorism has haunted Europe for the past few years, “the very real threat of what very much looks to be a modern-day Iranian-directed terror network will prove to be discomfiting for European Union leaders and for the future security of the European continent.”

He said the capture of Iranian diplomats implicated in the failed terror attack in Paris, along with the freezing of the assets of pro-Hezbollah Zahra Center in France, might be only the tip of the iceberg.

“Iran may have made a major miscalculation in allegedly ordering these attacks on European soil. You can certainly expect a major backlash at a time when Tehran can least afford it, given Iran’s attempts to gain European support to counter the re-imposition of crippling sanctions by the Trump administration,” added Shahbandar.

Separately, White House National Security Adviser John Bolton said the US faced threats from Iran, which he called “the world’s central banker of international terrorism since 1979.”

He said: “Radical Islamist terrorist groups represent the pre-eminent transnational terrorist threat to the United States and to the United States’ interests abroad.”

Rouhani, who was re-elected to a second four-year term last year on the promise of greater economic dividends from his government’s opening to Washington, was already reeling from the economic fallout of Trump’s abandonment of the nuclear deal.

A precipitous slide in the value of the rial against the dollar hit the purchasing power of ordinary Iranians, while an anticipated boost to Western investment failed to materialize, hitting plans to renew Iran’s antiquated infrastructure.

Image result for Zarif, Federica molinari, EU,photos

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, right, gestures to European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini after a meeting

Rouhani had counted on EU governments to work with the other parties to the deal — China and Russia — to mitigate the impact of the US policy U-turn but the French allegation has now put those hopes in jeopardy.

The allegations were swiftly seized on by the Trump administration as vindication of its hard line.

“France taking strong action against failed Iranian terrorist plot in Paris — Tehran needs to know this outrageous behavior will not be tolerated,” the White House’s National Security Council tweeted.

Rouhani’s government sees the hand of the Trump administration behind the allegations, convinced Washington is determined to undermine European resistance to the US abandonment of the JCPOA, the official acronym for the nuclear deal.

“Some centers of power do not approve of Iran’s good relations with Europe — that it is staying in the JCPOA and that its economic ties with the EU continue,” Ghasemi said.

Arab News

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1382761/world

Related:

Erdoğan, Merkel agree to hold a meeting on Syria’s Idlib with Macron and Putin

September 29, 2018

Image may contain: 2 people, people standing and text

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, right, take part in a joint press conference in Berlin, Germany, Friday, Sept. 28, 2018. (AP Photo)

An international conference will be held between the leaders of Germany, Turkey, Russia and France in October over the conflict in Syria, Chancellor Angela Merkel said Friday in a joint press conference with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Berlin.

Merkel said she talked about the situation in Syria’s Idlib with Erdoğan during their meeting.

“We favor there being a four-way meeting, because the situation is still fragile, between the Turkish president, the Russian president, the French president and me. We aim to do this in October,” she said.

The idea has previously been floated by Turkey.

Russia – an ally of Bashar Assad – and Turkey recently struck a deal for a buffer zone in Idlib that eased fears of an all-out offensive by the Syrian regime and its allies.

On the topic of the fight against terror, Erdoğan said Turkey expects closer cooperation from Germany against all terror groups, including the PKK and suspected members of the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) — the group behind the failed 2016 coup in Turkey.

Speaking during the conference, Erdoğan said thousands of PKK terrorists and hundreds of people with links to U.S.-based leader of FETÖ, Fetullah Gülen,​ are living in Germany.

“With mutual trust, we must catch (suspects) and hand them over,” he said. “This is important from a security point of view for the peace and welfare of our countries.”

Erdoğan also called on Germany to show respect to Turkey’s judicial system, in reference to German criticism of arrests in Turkey of German citizens on terror-related charges.

He recalled an extradition agreement between Turkey and Germany and called fugitive Can Dündar “a convict, spy.”

“Currently, this individual [Dündar] is convicted by Turkish courts of being a spy and disclosing state secrets,” s he said, underlining that it was Turkey’s natural right to seek his extradition in line with extradition agreement with Germany. Dündar has been sentenced to prison for five years and 10 months on espionage charges.

In May, 2016, the 14th High Criminal Court in Istanbul had convicted Dundar, the former editor-in-chief of Cumhuriyet daily, and Erdem Gül following the publication of images purporting to show arms being transported to Syria in trucks belonging to Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization, also known as the MIT.

The two defendants were arrested late November 2015 and held in prison until Feb. 26, 2016 when Turkey’s Constitutional Court ruled that their rights had been violated and ordered their release.

On bilateral relations with Germany, Erdoğan noted that the two countries reached a consensus on reviving cooperation mechanisms.

“Turkey and Germany have taken responsibility during the acute period of the migrant crisis, and eased the process by devoting serious sacrifice,” he added.

Regarding visa liberalization process, Erdoğan said Turkey plans to fulfill the remaining six criteria “as soon as possible.”

“Turkey is taking on serious responsibilities on regional issues, particularly Syria crisis,” he said.

He further stressed that Turkey “is ready and has the power” to eliminate all threats including economic threats.

https://www.dailysabah.com/diplomacy/2018/09/28/erdogan-merkel-agree-to-hold-a-meeting-on-syrias-idlib-with-macron-and-putin

Related:

 

See also:

Turkey-Germany: Erdogan urges Merkel to extradite Gulen ‘terrorists’

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-45684390

Related:

How Isolated Trump Insulted Allies and Dismissed the World at UN

September 27, 2018

Trump declined to acknowledge the distress he appeared to have left in his wake at the UN.

From Bloomberg

By , and

.
  • ‘It doesn’t matter what world leaders think,’ Trump said
  • U.S. leader says China interfering in midterm elections

President Donald Trump arrived at the United Nations this week looking to rally global support against Iran and show that his policies on North Korea were lowering the risk of nuclear war.

By Wednesday, he made clear he didn’t care whether he persuaded anyone.

Trump speaks during the UN General Assembly meeting in New York on Sept. 25.

Photographer: Jeenah Moon/Bloomberg

“It doesn’t matter what world leaders think on Iran,” he said after absorbing criticism from America’s allies up close, insisting that “Iran’s going to come back to me and make a deal.”

The comment was emblematic of Trump’s entire approach at a meeting many world leaders use to help narrow divides, not widen them. After doubling down on his “America First” approach, with its insistence on national sovereignty and rejection of globalism, he’ll leave New York this week with allies and adversaries as frustrated as ever with the U.S. over issues from trade to climate change to Iran’s nuclear program.

For a meeting of diplomats, there was little diplomacy to be seen on either side.

Read more: Trump Faces Laughter at UN, Then Unleashes Grievances

The pushback on Trump and his approach to foreign policy started during his speech to the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, when a murmur of laughter greeted the president’s claim that his administration had accomplished more than almost any in U.S. history. A day later at a Security Council meeting he hosted, Bolivian President Evo Morales, who has longstanding anti-American sentiments, insulted the U.S. to Trump’s face, saying America had no interest in upholding democracy.

Donald Trump listens as Evo Morales, third right, speaks on Sept. 26.

Photographer: Don Emmert/AFP via Getty Images

More surprising was the chiding from allies.

In a reference to Trump’s rebuke of alliances and multilateral institutions, U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May said that delivering for citizens at home “does not have to be at the expense of global cooperation.” French President Emmanuel Macron disputed Trump’s claim that ties with France were “99 percent good,” saying “the disagreements are known and they are more than 1 percent,” citing a divergence over issues including climate change and Iran.

“It’s never been like this before,” said Daniel Kurtzer, a former ambassador to Egypt and Israel under President George W. Bush who’s now a professor at Princeton. “U.S. policy always has engendered opposition from allies — Germany and France during the 2003 invasion of Iraq — but what’s new is the derision.”

China’s Interference

No one was in a bridge-building mood. With U.S.-China trade tensions only getting worse, Trump suggested his much-touted friendship with President Xi Jinping was coming to an end, and accused Beijing of interfering in the upcoming U.S. midterm elections.

Almost as glaring was the mini-drama that unfurled at a luncheon for leaders on Tuesday, when cameras caught the president ignoring Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s attempt to say hello. Trump then curtly shook his hand but would not get up from his seat as he did for other leaders.

Trump later said at a free-wheeling press conference Wednesday evening that he rejected Trudeau’s request for a one-on-one meeting, saying “Canada has treated us very badly.” Trudeau later said he had never sought a meeting.

“Lashing out at the Canadians in highly personal terms was diplomatic carnage,” said Richard Gowan, a senior fellow at the United Nations University’s Center for Policy Research. Gowan called Trump’s more than hour-long press conference “a steaming hot mess.”

Trump’s Successes

Trump and his team believe they can afford to be dismissive. Iran’s economy has been pinched by U.S. sanctions that he vows will only get tougher. Trump said his outreach to North Korea helped stave off a nuclear war that looked imminent when he came to office. If Canada doesn’t back down on dairy tariffs, Trump argued, he’ll just tax cars imported from the north.

“The world loathes what Trump says, but they pay deep attention to the new credible threats of economic and military coercion,” said Charles Lipson, professor emeritus of political science at the University of Chicago. “Trump sees the old international order as fundamentally unsustainable.”

As the week went on, domestic politics proved to be increasingly distracting, with stories about his embattled Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh crowding Trump’s foreign policy agenda out of the headlines.

That led to some awkward moments. Most glaring was during the opening of his meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, when he accused Democrats of “bringing people out of the woods” to smear Kavanaugh, who will confront allegations of sexual assault at a Senate hearing on Thursday.

Donald Trump and Shinzo Abe.

Photographer: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

“They can do that to anybody, they can to it to anybody,” Trump said as he sat next to Abe. “Other than perhaps Prime Minister Abe because he’s so pure.”

As his UN trip wound down, Trump declined to acknowledge the distress he appeared to have left in his wake. Asked about the laughter that greeted the opening of his General Assembly speech, the U.S. president said the audience was laughing with him, not at him.

“We had fun,” Trump said. “People had a good time with me.”

— With assistance by Robert Hutton, and Gregory Viscusi

Includes videos:

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-09-27/isolated-trump-insults-allies-dismisses-the-world-at-un-meeting

Macron affirms love for France after ‘resistant Gauls’ aside — “It’s not contempt to say things as they are and to tell the truth.”

August 30, 2018

President Emmanuel Macron found himself having to defend his love of France and the French against critics at home on Thursday after suggesting during a visit to Denmark that his compatriots were slow to accept change.

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, people standing, suit and outdoor

French President Emmanuel Macron and Finnish Prime Minister Juha Sipila shake hands at the Prime Minister’s official residence Kesaranta in Helsinki, Finland August 30, 2018. Lehtikuva/Markku Ulander via REUTERS

Speaking to Denmark’s Queen Margrethe during an audience in Copenhagen on Wednesday, Macron praised the Danes as a “Lutheran people” open to new ideas, while he described the French as “Gauls who are resistant to change”.

The lightly delivered aside prompted a flood of criticism from domestic opponents.

“It is unacceptable to hear the president criticize and caricature the French like this,” said Laurent Wauquiez, head of the center-right Les Republicains party.

Marine Le Pen of the far-right said the comment showed Macron held the French in contempt and far-left deputy Alexis Corbiere called it “utter nonsense”.

Macron, who has made reform a watchword of his presidency, defended himself, saying the comment was meant humorously and people shouldn’t get swallowed up by social media outrage.

“I don’t have the feeling it’s a scoop that France was originally made up of Gallic tribes, which for me is something to be very proud of,” he told a news conference in Helsinki, the final leg of a three-day visit to the Nordic region.

“I love France and the French and I love these Gallic tribes with all their variety and paradoxes… It’s not contempt to say things as they are and to tell the truth.”

Macron has faced frequent criticism for his sharp tongue and sometimes cutting wit.

Shortly after being elected in May last year, he berated a group of striking workers for “kicking up a bloody mess” and was roundly criticized for referring to “slackers”.

He also upbraided a teenager for not addressing him politely and caused a diplomatic spat with the Italian government after accusing its leaders of cynicism.

Macron has introduced a raft of reforms, some of which have led to strikes and protests but without anything like the level of union resistance seen in previous eras.

“If I thought we were nothing but reactionaries, I wouldn’t be here before you,” he told reporters in Helsinki.

Additional reporting by Richard Lough; Writing by Luke Baker; editing by John Stonestreet

Reuters

Related:

Macron under fire for calling French ‘resistant to change’ — “Some find it Gaul-ing”

August 30, 2018

French President Emmanuel Macron came under attack from the opposition on Thursday after describing his countrymen as “Gauls who are resistant to change” during a trip to Denmark.

The comments came during an exchange with French expatriates in the Scandinavian country, which Macron has long admired because of its economic model that mixes a strong social security system with rules allowing companies to easily fire workers.

“Let’s not be naive, what is possible is linked to a culture, to a people who are the product of their history,” Macron said on Wednesday afternoon.

“These Lutheran (Protestant) people, who have experienced transformations in recent years, are not like the Gauls who are resistant to change,” he said, using a term for the ancient tribes that roamed France more than 2000 years ago.

© AFP | Gauls resistent to change? It was a light-hearted remark, French President Emmanuel Macron said

The remark echoed previous comments by Macron saying the French “hate reforms” and that the country is “unreformable”.

He prefers instead to talk about a “transformation” under his leadership.

The 40-year-old former investment banker is trying to push through his own version of Denmark’s “flexi-curity” model of flexibility and security by loosening French labour law and reforming the social security system.

But the opposition back home seized on the remarks.

“As usual, he scorns the French while overseas. The Gauls will take great pleasure in responding to his arrogance and contempt,” said far-right leader Marine Le Pen.

Leftwing MP Alexis Corbiere from the France Unbowed party denounced Macron for his “staggeringly stupid remarks”.

“Macron in Denmark is not only contemptuous of his own people but also very ignorant about the Gauls who were incredibly progressive,” he added.

– Nepotism row –

But the president was quick to respond while in Finland where he is on the second leg of his Scandinavian trip.

“You need to step back from the controversy and social media,” Macron told reporters, describing his remarks as “a light-hearted moment”.

“I love France and the French people, make no mistake. I love it in all of its components.”

And he also defended a decision to appoint French writer Patrick Besson as consul general in Los Angeles.

Besson, who has written some 20 novels, is a close personal friend of Macron and his wife Brigitte who penned an overwhelmingly positive book on how Macron captured the French presidency in May 2017.

“There is no cronyism in exchange for favours,” Macron said, indicating he would “continue to open up all of the top state jobs to people with talent and strengths from all walks of life.”

The criticism comes as problems mount for the centrist leader who swept to power promising to end decades of high unemployment and reform the European Union.

He suffered a major political scandal this summer when a senior security aide was filmed manhandling protesters, and his poll ratings have slumped to their lowest-ever levels.

On Tuesday, he suffered a major blow to his green credentials when his popular environment minister resigned live on radio, saying the government was doing too little and was influenced by “lobbies”.

AFP

French Environment Minister Quits — Macron weakened, drops to record low in polls

August 28, 2018

French Environment Minister Nicolas Hulot announced his resignation on Tuesday, citing disappointment with the lack of progress on climate and other environmental goals.

Hulot said his decision, taken on Monday night, was the result of an “accumulation of disappointments” over the inadequacy of steps to tackle climate change, defend biodiversity and address other environmental threats.

Douglas Herbert

@dougf24

, the maverick French minister, has announced on @franceinter radio that he is quitting his post. Before accepting Macron’s ministerial offer, Hulot had always resisted being part of any government, preferring to fight for his causes from the outside.

France Inter

@franceinter

Nicolas Hulot : “Je prends la décision de quitter le gouvernement” #le79inter cc @leasalame @ndemorand

Hulot, a former TV presenter and green activist, said on France Inter radio that he had not yet informed President Emmanuel Macron of his decision to resign.

(REUTERS)

************************************************

Macron Weakened President drops to record low in polls for ‘acting like KING of France’

EMMANUEL Macron heads back to work “weakened” after his clumsy handling of a scandal involving his top bodyguard pushed his approval ratings to a record low in August.

Ifop’s deputy chief Frédéric Dabi said public perception of the French President has turned, with voters frustrated at his cuts to welfare and employment reforms.

Mr Macron was described as acting like a “monarch” with no connection with his voters, by Mr Dabi.

Mr Dabi told France’s Europe 1 radio: “He is entering the new political year undeniably weakened.

“The benevolent mood towards Mr Macron has soured, and most people are now disappointed [with his performance] … There’s a growing feeling among voters that his policies are unfair.”

Emmanuel Macron

Emmanuel Macron heads back to work “weakened” (Image: GETTY)

The number of people with a favourable opinion of the 40-year-old leader slumped by five percentage points this month to a record low of 34 per cent, an Ifop poll for Le Journal du Dimanche published on Sunday showed.

The poll also showed his “dissatisfaction rating” rising to 66 per cent from 61 per cent in July.

The aftershocks of the so-called “Benalla affair” are still being felt, and the scandal has damaged Mr Macron’s reputation.

Last month, a video of Mr Macron’s former bodyguard, Alexandre Benalla, beating up two protesters while off duty and dressed as a riot officer sparked furious opposition claims of a cover-up after it was found that Elysée officials had known about the incident since early May.

Alexandre Benalla

Alexandre Benalla was filmed beating up two protesters while off duty and dressed as a riot officer (Image: GETTY)

Emmanuel Macron seen as ‘not humble’ by French says analyst

But it was Mr Macron’s blunt, aloof response to the scandal that had the biggest impact on his presidency, denting his popularity and throwing parts of his agenda off schedule.

The young centrist was criticised for sacking his security aide only after the video was released by the press, undermining his campaign claim of building an “exemplary Republic”.

Mr Dabi added: “The bodyguard scandal has left an indelible stain on the presidency. It’s a slow poison.

“Mr Macron acted like a monarch, and came across as a leader who is disconnected from reality and from people’s everyday lives.”

A second opinion poll also published on Sunday echoed the downward trend reported by Ifop.

The survey, conducted by Viavoice for the left-wing daily Libération, showed that only 36 per cent of French people have a “favourable” opinion of Mr Macron.

Fifty-one per cent of respondents have an “unfavourable” opinion of the president, the poll found.

The Ifop poll was conducted among 995 people between August 23 and August 24; while the Viavoice poll was conducted among 1,008 people between August 20 and August 21.