July 05, 2017 (LBO) – France’s President Emmanuel Macron, in a rare joint session of the French Parliament at Versailles, outlined his five-year plan for the European nation Monday, touching on the public’s thirst for change and humane treatment of refugees.
Macron stunned traditional parties on both the right and the left, running under the banner of En Marche!, a centrist political movement he founded in 2016, to win a parliamentary majority for his party last month.
He said citizens had an “overwhelming thirst for renewal,” and warned against fear and cynicism wrought by poverty, terrorism, new forms of labor and ecological change.
“It’s about nothing less than reweaving, between French citizens and the republic, the relationship that has dissolved under the mechanical exercise of power,” Macron said.
“From efficiency, representativity and responsibility, I want the emergence of a contractual republic.”
He proposed shrinking by a third the French Parliament that has 925 members, and warned of a referendum if Parliament does not vote quickly on institutional reforms, the New York Times reported.
The media has weighed in on Macron’s rise to power, accusing him of a ‘monarchical’ drift in addressing both houses of Parliament at the former seat of French kings, a state-of-the-union style address which Macron said would be held annually.
“The French people have shown their impatience with a political world made up of sterile quarrels and hollow ambitions in which we have lived up until now,” Macron said.
“I believe firmly in Europe. But I don’t find the scepticism unjustified.”
“The building of Europe has been weakened by the spread of bureaucracy and by the growing scepticism that comes from that.”
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Édouard Philippe told lawmakers it was time to end France’s addiction to public spending and rein in debts that were at an unacceptable level.
Controlling France’s spending and reducing its budget deficit could win the trust of European Union partner Germany and persuade Berlin to embark on reforms of the bloc.