On Wednesday, President Emmanuel Macron cautioned the French that effort and sacrifice would be required in the coming months as the world faces a “a big shift”
In his first cabinet meeting after the summer break, Macron, appearing tanned but sombre, said the world was approaching the end of certainties, of easy availability of commodities and resources, and “of a certain carefreeness”
“The moment we are living … may seem to be structured by a series of crises, each more serious than the other,” he added, pointing to the summer drought, fires, and storms in France, as well as the war in Ukraine and global trade disruptions.
“I believe that what we are going through is rather a big shift, a big change,” Macron said, pushing ministers to be ambitious.
“Freedom has a cost,” Macron said the French, who are already dealing with rising inflation as a result of the Ukraine war. “The battles we have to fight … will only be won through our efforts.”
He also stated that the administration would implement long-awaited initiatives to strengthen its battle against climate change.
Macron, who won a second presidential term in April but then lost his overall majority in parliament, faces a number of obstacles in the coming months, including convincing MPs to approve the 2023 budget.
One crucial decision will be whether to retain price restrictions on electricity and gas, which expire at the end of the year, as well as a fuel rebate, which have helped keep French inflation lower than many EU peers but impose a significant burden on public coffers.
Pension and unemployment benefit reforms are also in the works, which may spark street protests.
“I also expect seriousness and credibility in the face of such anxieties, such challenges,” Macron told his ministers. “It can be appealing to say what people want to hear … but you must first ask yourself the question of efficiency.”