French foreign minister quits ‘ailing Socialists’

French Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian announced on March 8, 2018 that he is leaving the French socialist party. (AFP / LUDOVIC MARIN)
Updated 09 March 2018
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French foreign minister quits ‘ailing Socialists’

PARIS: France’s ailing Socialist Party lost another heavyweight on Thursday after Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian announced he was quitting the party which was chased from power last year by centrist President Emmanuel Macron.
Le Drian’s membership of the party had come into question in recent days.
A number of senior Socialists had called on the 70-year-old political veteran to choose between the opposition benches and the government.
Le Drian, who served as defense minister under former Socialist President Francois Hollande before switching his loyalties to Macron, told Cnews television he had heard their calls.
“I am leaving the Socialist Party with a great deal of emotion, as a member for 44 years, and also with a lot of pride, having been involved in the campaigns of (former president) Francois Mitterrand, (former premier) Lionel Jospin and Francois Hollande with whom I am still close friends,” he said.
Le Drian’s departure is another blow to one of France’s oldest parties which voters deserted en masse last year after five years of lacklustre rule by the unpopular Hollande.
Le Drian faulted the party for what he called a “sectarian, sterile” approach in failing to back Macron for president over the Socialists’ own leftist candidate, contrasting their stance with that of Germany’s Social Democrats who have agreed to form another coalition with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives.
He however ruled out joining Macron’s Republic on the Move (LREM) party, which has attracted a slew of defectors from both the Socialists and right-wing Republicans.
His announcement came a day after four candidates for the leadership of the Socialists faced off in a TV debate.


Macron must unify France as unrest is hurting economy: Le Maire

Updated 10 December 2018
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Macron must unify France as unrest is hurting economy: Le Maire

  • Le Maire would not be drawn on a figure for annual economic growth in 2018 but said the wave of unrest was hurting France’s image among foreign investors
  • Le Maire reiterated his desire to accelerate tax cuts but suggested he was not in favor of reinstating a tax on wealth

PARIS: President Emmanuel Macron needs to unify a country divided by the forces of globalization in a national addresses on Monday and end anti-government protests that will cut economic growth by about 0.1 percentage points, France’s finance minister said.
Protesters rioted in Paris and cities across France on Saturday in a fourth weekend of unrest that first erupted over high living costs but has morphed into a broader anti-Macron rebellion.
“Our country is deeply divided, between those who see that globalization has benefited them and others who can’t make ends meet, who say ... globalization is not an opportunity but a threat,” Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told RTL.
“It is the president’s role to unify the country.”
Le Maire would not be drawn on a figure for annual economic growth in 2018 but said the wave of unrest was hurting France’s image among foreign investors and would knock 0.1 percentage points off output in the final quarter.
Macron will make a televised address at 20:00 local Paris time (1900 GMT) as he seeks to placate “yellow vest” protesters, whose revolt poses the most formidable challenge yet to the 40-year-old leader’s 18-month presidency.
Le Maire reiterated his desire to accelerate tax cuts but suggested he was not in favor of reinstating a tax on wealth — known as the ‘ISF’ — that Macron narrowed when he came into office, and which earned him the tag ‘president of the rich.
“Does the ISF help reduce poverty, reduce our debts, reduce public spending? No. If you want to hunt for money, go knocking on the doors of digital tech companies,” Le Maire said.
Le Maire said last Thursday that France would tax digital giants at a national level from 2019 if European Union states could not reach an agreement on a tax on digital revenues for the bloc.
“It is time they paid a fair level of tax,” he told RTL on Monday.