Macron toughens line on the unvaccinated, wants to ‘piss them off’

PARIS – The bold, vulgar remarks by French President Emmanuel Macron that he wanted to make life difficult for the unvaccinated have caused a sensation in the already heated debate in the French parliament over the introduction of a vaccination pass.

“The unvaccinated, I really want to piss them off. And so we will continue to the end. That’s the strategy, ”Macron told Le Parisien newspaper in an interview published late Tuesday.

Currently, the French are required to present a COVID-19 immunity passport – including proof of vaccination or negative test – when entering restaurants, cafes, museums and other public spaces. The government is trying to tighten the conditions for those who have not been vaccinated by making a negative test an option to obtain the immunity passport. In fact, the new, high-powered passport means that the unvaccinated will be banned from many public places.

The measure is currently going through the National Assembly, where the debate on Wednesday morning failed for the second time in a row due to Macron’s remarks in the early hours of the morning.

France is currently battling a new wave of COVID-19 infections, with daily cases reaching record highs due to the Omicron variant.

Macron made it clear that his goal was to harass a minority who do not want to take the sting.

“It’s only a very small minority that is against it [the vaccine]. How do you approach them? I’m sorry to say that you are doing this by pissing them off, ”he said in an interview with Le Parisien.

“I don’t want to upset the French. I complain to the administration all day when they put hurdles in their way. But the unvaccinated, I really want to piss them off, “he said, adding that the government would tell them,” You can’t go to the restaurant, you can’t have a drink, you can’t … coffee … “

Opposition parties strike

Macron was quickly accused of lack of decency on the part of the president. He used the slang word “fuck off“, A common word that means to make life difficult, but that is not used in polite discourse.

“It is not up to the President of the Republique to separate the good from the bad,” said Valérie Pécresse, his conservative rival in the presidential election in April. “We don’t have to divide France, we have to divide the French. We have to reconcile this country. “

Right-wing presidential candidate Marine Le Pen sentenced the expressions of “the unprecedented vulgarity and violence of a President of the Republic”.

At the other end of the political spectrum is left-wing presidential candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon tweeted: “Amazing admission by # Length character. It is clear that #PassVaccinal [vaccine pass] is a collective punishment against individual freedom. “

The utterances sparked an intense debate in France about the dignity of the President and the division of his approach.

But just four months before the election, Macron is also considered calculated on the offensive by using the management of the COVID-19 pandemic to push his opponents into the background. In recent months, opposition parties have found it difficult to emphasize the issue, either because they were confused or they were in agreement with the government.

With Survey Many Presidential Bank supporters say that a majority of French are in favor of introducing a vaccination record, and that his comments align with the feelings of ordinary French who want to return to normal.

“90 percent of the French are vaccinated, the majority are angry about the restrictions,” said a close adviser to Macron in comments on the Paris Playbook. “There’s a lot of difference between what you see on Twitter and real life and what people really think.”

Another government adviser said Macron was taking a sheet of paper from right-wing presidential candidate Eric Zemmour’s playbook, who said what real people at home think “sitting on their sofas.”

To achieve political victories

Debates on the vaccine pass are expected to resume on Wednesday, behind the original schedule set by the government. And Macron’s comments won’t make matters any smoother.

On Monday, the debates were abruptly interrupted when opposition MPs decided to vote against extending the process beyond midnight, usually a formality when major bills are debated.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Jean Castex, a normally optimistic figure, criticized a minor Conservative victory.

“It’s not responsible, it’s not responsible … The virus is galloping and you’re pulling the handbrake,” he said said in the chamber. “What will our compatriots think of these gadgets?”

Macron is no stranger to political gambling. And on this issue, a majority will agree with him that unvaccinated people should be encouraged to take the trick, as the cases in France are spiraling.

In the same interview that might haunt him, Macron also said that antivaxxers “undermined the solidity of the nation” and that their irresponsibility meant that “they were no longer citizens”.

Pauline de Saint Remy contributed to the coverage.


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