Emmanuel Macron’s five-year term branded ‘disorder’ – ‘Remember the mess!’

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Brice Hortefeux, a former French minister, gave a scathing review of Mr Macron’s term as President as French citizens prepare for next year’s presidential vote. The President is set to be challenged by far-right leader Marine Le Pen next April. Last week both party leaders suffered humiliating results in a regional vote.

In an interview with French channel CNews, Mr Hortefeux said since entering office in May 2017 President Macron has executed no reforms.

He said: “The results of Macron’s five-year term are both disorder and no reforms.

“The disorder because we have lived a social disorder.

“Remember the mess with the yellow vests. A health disorder.

“And also an economic and financial mess.

“If we want to get back to the level of public debt that existed before the crisis, Germany needs seven years, Italy needs 26 years and France needs 67 years.

“That shows you the state of degradation of our country.”

The yellow vests protests which kicked off in November 2018 were a major thorn in the President’s side.

Originally, protesters had been from rural areas and were complaining about having to drive long distances to work.

But the movement quickly mushroomed into a wider cause, and members of the working and middles classes stood side by side to protest against the high cost of living and rising fuel prices.

Many French citizens argued that their incomes were too high to qualify for social welfare benefits but too low to make ends meet.

At the height of the movement, campaigners clashed with riot police in scenes of violence that went viral on social media.

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Although the number dwindled in 2019 the protests dragged on for over a year, drawing crowds every weekend, before ending in March 2020 due to the Covid pandemic.

The results of last week’s regional elections were seen as an early indication of voter sentiments ahead of next year’s presidential ballot.

President Macron’s ruling party Republique en Marche, which did not exist at the time of the last regional vote in 2015, failed to pick up a single region of its own.

The outcome was seen as a major embarrassment for the country’s centre-right leader.

This week Mr Macron is looking further afield as he eyes up closer ties with China.

Earlier today he took part in a video call with Chinese President Xi Jinping and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, focusing on EU-China relations.

A statement from Mrs Merkel’s office said: “They also discussed international trade, climate protection and biodiversity.

“The conversation also revolved around cooperation in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, global vaccine supply, and international and regional issues.”

President Xi told Mr Macron and Mrs Merkel he hoped his country and the bloc would expand cooperation to better respond to global challenges.

The communist leader expressed optimism that Brussels could play a more active role in international affairs, achieve strategic independence and offer a fair, transparent and unbiased environment for Chinese companies, state broadcaster CCTV reported.

The EU’s “big three” – the three large founding members of the EU – are set for a shake-up in the coming months.

Mrs Merkel will step down in September following 16 years of leading Germany.

Earlier this year, Mario Draghi took over from Giuseppe Conte in Italy.

Additional reporting by Maria Ortega.

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