Macron says France is the 'most attractive country' in Europe
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Emmanuel Macron made a series of bold claims during a speech to workers at a battery factory on Monday as he insisted that France was the “most attractive country” in Europe. In a bizarre outburst, he claimed that “for four years” he has had a “method and the results are there” in implementing trade in the country and leading France. His boastful tirade went on to suggest France has held this “attractive” title since 2019. Mr Macron’s comments come despite being dealt a devastating blow at the country’s regional elections last week.
But observers suggest Mr Macron’s choice of words and behaviour recently hints at the Frenchman’s plan to take the reigns from German Chancellor Angela Merkel as the leading EU figure when she steps down as Chancellor at the end of the year.
The Frenchman said: “For a little over four years, we have implemented a policy of attractiveness and competitiveness.
“We have not become by chance the most attractive country in Europe since 2019 and again this year.
“We are because we have made reforms together and we have carried out reforms. We have lowered the tax on investments with the famous flat tax at 30%.
“What did I hear? What do you want me to tell you? We can’t say: ‘we don’t like investors, except when they come to invest with us’.”
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He went on to make a series of bold claims, adding: “We have a welcoming policy that I have assumed – I was given all the qualifiers when I did that, but we have the results!”
And in an extraordinary moment, the President hammered: “You can believe it, we were no longer the first country of attraction. We have been [going] back to 2019!”
Mr Macron’s tirade comes as observers speculate he is launching a bid to become the successor to Chancellor Merkel, considered to be the most powerful leader in the bloc, Merkel steps down at the end of the year.
Speaking to Sky News on Tuesday, Nikita Malik, Editor of Bright Blue, an independent think tank said: “There is this space that is needed for an EU leader and I think Macron is trying to position himself as that, especially with Merkel’s decline.”
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She added: “It is very early to understand the dynamics nationally, and broadly polls do show support for Macron…
“But his immediate reaction to go on Twitter and have a success list of what he’s achieved and what he plans to achieve does show perhaps interest on his end to show that he is a front runner and can fill this gap.
“And can perhaps be hard on the UK with some of the decisions he has made on trade with Britain going forward – it seems that there is a gap here that he is very keen to fill.”
Later in his speech, Mr Macron hinted that he is trying to carve out a role for himself as the next Angela Merkel as he put a huge emphasis on European “sovereignty” and the importance of French and EU manufacturing.
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He said: “Today, why are we having problems? You know this well in the sector, because we are too dependent on certain others on batteries, as I mentioned, on semiconductors elsewhere.
“So we must regain the capacity to produce in France and in Europe and to create jobs to do so. This is what we are building with this electric battery strategy, with this European valley of electric batteries.”
He concluded: “This is the key, sovereignty.”
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