French President Emmanuel Macron says tough months are ahead as his administration braces for energy price hikes due to the war in Ukraine.
Addressing a cabinet meeting on Aug. 24, Mr. Macron said people were living through a series of crises, ranging from extreme temperatures, fires and drought of the past weeks, to the Ukraine conflict and disruptions to global trade.
“This overview that I’m giving—the end of abundance, the end of insouciance, the end of assumptions—it’s ultimately a tipping point that we are going through that can lead our citizens to feel a lot of anxiety,” Mr. Macron said. “Faced with this, we have duties, the first of which is to speak frankly and very clearly without doom-mongering.”
“Freedom has a cost,” he said. “The battles we have to fight … will only be won through our efforts.”
The 44-year-old president also called on the French public to accept new measures. However, unions have rejected his call for sacrifices, saying workers need higher pay to cope with rising inflation.
Reacting to Macron’s comments, Philippe Martinez, the head of the CGT labor union, said protests in September will call for increased wages and limited price hikes. “We will stand up against these new sacrifices.” The union has called for a day of nationwide strikes on September 29.
French government spokesman Olivier Veran has said the country could not maintain energy price caps to help households cope with soaring inflation forever. “There may be price increases.”
France is less reliant than some neighbors on gas imports from Russia. But nevertheless, concerns about supply from Russia remain.
Pension reforms and unemployment benefit schemes are also in the works and could trigger street protests.
Mr. Macron now faces tough challenges, including persuading lawmakers to pass the 2023 budget. (PressTV.ir)