French President Emmanuel Macron admitted Sunday he had made mistakes in underestimating the impact of the green transition on ordinary people and now realises the need to “accompany” them and help them adapt.
Recalling the “gilets jaunes” (yellow jackets) protest movement of 2018 against rising prices, Macron told US news channel CBS in an interview, the French economy had to be transformed.
“We have to increase the price of carbon and we have to help this transition to happen for entrepreneurs and our households,” he said.
“If you go to them …say, now guys, you will have to adapt yourself, you will pay a much higher price and so on, I can tell you you will increase social inequalities.
“I did such a mistake, I have to say, and I can …tell you in 2018 because we underestimate the impact on middle classes,” Macron told France the Nation programme.
“So you have to accompany people.
“And we have to accept for a few years to invest public money in these transitions to help innovation and diffusion of this innovation,” the president said in English.
“We have to help middle classes and poor people to make this change with us.
“And I can tell you with a lot of humility, I’m even more sure because I made mistakes myself.”
France’s gilets jaunes movement saw often violent demonstrations and ran on through 2019 before petering out as the government made a number of financial concessions.
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