Emmanuel Macron said he was proud to support the American taxi service company Uber and “will do it again tomorrow and the day after,” after revelations of his efforts to help a US firm lobby against the French cab industry.
Several French politicians from the left to the far right, as well as the leader of the left-wing trade union CGT, have called for parliamentary inquiry in the report that Macron had secret unannounced meetings with Uber when he was economy minister from 2014-2016 and that he told Uber that he was an intermediary “deal” with the bitterly divided Socialist cabinet then in power under Francois Hollande.
Discoveries are contained in Files uber – a cache of 124,000 company documents leaked to the Guardian and handed over to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.
On the sidelines of an event dedicated to the construction of a new semiconductor factory in Krol, Macron was questioned by a journalist from Le Monde for meeting with Uber officials between 2014 and 2016.
“I was a minister and I was doing my job,” he said. “We’ve seen too much of that atmosphere, where meetings with business leaders, especially if they’re foreign, are seen as bad.” He said his meetings with business leaders were “always formal” and included members of his staff.
He said: “I am proud of it. When they created jobs in FranceI’m very proud of it, and you know what, I’d do it again tomorrow and the day after that.”
He said he is announcing the new investment and the promise of 1,500 new jobs at Crolles precisely because he had a similar meeting “a few months ago, and in a confidential manner – because we have to keep company secrets – with the head of GlobalFoundries, who appears here today.”
Macron said that as president he was the most open world leader regulation of internet giants. “When I became president, we regulated the sector unsparingly. We are the first country that regulated Internet platforms, and then brought them to the European level. So I’m very proud.”
He told reporters: “You know, here’s the scoop: without business and entrepreneurs, it’s very difficult to create jobs. Therefore, I will continue to meet with businesses and entrepreneurs to convince them to invest in our country, and I will do everything possible to open sectors where activities are blocked to create jobs. Because I am happy for every young person who got a job thanks to this.”
Asked why he nevertheless faced strong criticism because of it Uber deals by the left-wing opposition coalition Nupes in parliament, he said, “because they have lost their compass.” He added: “If you believe in social justice and equal opportunity, you need to fight for young people from disadvantaged areas to find work. It was never their struggle. But it was mine.”
He added: “If we don’t fight for education, training and innovation – in other words, economic opportunity – we will still have unemployment. And our unemployment, even if it has decreased over the past five years, is still too high.”
Macron said the “victims” of unemployment in France were young people who had fewer qualifications and were “victims of discrimination”. Like, that’s why he fights for full-time employment.
At the first question session in the new French parliament on Tuesday, Danielle Simonet of the far-left France Unbowed party demanded a parliamentary inquiry and criticized Macron as “a minister who served the interests of an American platform against the views of the government” and the French administration. She referred to Le Monde the report what Mark McGannthe career lobbyist who led Uber’s efforts to win over governments in Europe later backed Macron’s 2016-2017 presidential campaign.
Junior minister Olivia Gregoire told parliament that Macron had “done his job” as economy minister. She added: “He met Uber, he also met, let’s be clear: Netflix, Airbnb, Tesla and closer to home, [the French businesses] Doctolib, Backmarket. why? Because these businesses are at the heart of the economy today, at the heart of the 21st century economystr century, and that’s the reality — whatever you think about that — that’s where the growth and the jobs are.”
Grégoire added: “Who insisted on regulating the digital giants in Europe? France. Who promoted the need not to abuse personal data? France. Who is the country that first proposed taxing clean giants? France. Who is the country that paid the price when President Trump imposed sanctions on them? France. So yes, the president, when he was minister of the economy, took all measures to encourage arrivals, but also to protect consumers.”