Emmanuel Macron has warned the French they are facing sacrifices.
Macron said France and the French felt they were living through a series of crises, “each worse than the last”.
“What we are currently living through is a kind of major tipping point or a great upheaval … we are living the end of what could have seemed an era of abundance … the end of the abundance of products of technologies that seemed always available … the end of the abundance of land and materials including water.”
“This overview that I’m giving, the end of abundance, the end of insouciance, the end of assumptions – it’s ultimately a tipping point that we are going through that can lead our citizens to feel a lot of anxiety. Faced with this, we have a duty, duties, the first of which is to speak frankly and clearly without doom-mongering,” he said.
Philippe Martinez, the secretary general of the powerful CGT union, said Macron’s comments were “misplaced” and that many in France had never known abundance.
“When we talk about the end of abundance, I think of the millions of unemployed, the millions of those in a precarious situation. For many French people, times are already hard, sacrifices have already been made,” Martinez said.
The leader of the French Communist party, Fabien Roussel, a presidential candidate earlier this year, expressed astonishment at Macron’s speech. “Unbelievable! It’s as if the French have had no worries and been over-indulging themselves. We have 10 million poor in France because of President Macron’s carelessness and the predatory behaviour of the rich,” Roussel tweeted.
Macron's speech came as it was revealed that the dividends paid out by major French companies reached a record €44bn in the second quarter of 2022, as a result of what was described as exceptional profits in 2021. The dividend payout was almost 33% up on the previous year.