French President Emmanuel Macron gave a televised national address amid mounting pressure over his government’s handling of the pandemic. The Sunday night speech was his fourth since the start of the coronavirus crisis. “The fight against the virus is not over,” Macron said on Sunday. “But I am happy … about this first victory against the pandemic.”
He said that he would work to build a Europe that was less dependent on China and the United States, as France gradually emerges from an eight-week lockdown. The coronavirus crisis has exposed how reliant France and the rest of Europe is on supply chains with China and elsewhere.
“This ordeal has exposed flaws and fragilities: our dependence to other continents to get our hands on some goods,” the president said in a televised address to the nation. “I want us to draw all the lessons from what we have learned.”
He also said that fighting racism should not lead to a “hateful” re-writing of history following worldwide protests over the killing of George Floyd, a black man, by a police officer in the United States.
“I will be very clear tonight, compatriots: the Republic won’t erase any name from its history. It will forget none of its artworks, it won’t take down statues,” he said in the televised address to the nation.
As for Covid-19, Macron announced
- Starting tomorrow, June 15, all of mainland France will be classified as a “green zone” with regard to Covid-19 risk. Virtually all lockdown restrictions will be lifted, allowing bars and restaurants to open again, notably in the Paris region, where their operations have been restricted.
- Overseas territories Mayotte and French Guaiana will remain classified as “orange” zones
- All schools and nurseries will be able to reopen as of Monday, June 22
- Nursing home visits will once again be allowed
- Large gatherings will remain restricted
- France will seek to advance greater national and European “independence” while building a strong, sustainable post-pandemic economy. It will seek as much as possible to
- France’s political centralization should be reduced, with regions given more autonomy to make decisions
- He will make another speech in July outlining longer-term policy responses to the Covid-19 crisis
Opposition members on Twitter, from Clémentine Autain and Danièle Obono of the left-wing La France Insoumise (France Unbowed) party to Guillaume Peltier of the right-wing Républicains, widely criticized Macron’s speech as vague and self-congratulatory.
Reuters / France 24