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France

Macron's 'complex thoughts' too much for Bastille Day press conference

© Présidence française, Soazig de la Moissonnière | The President of the Republic poses in the Élysée Palace for his official photo

Text by Tom WHEELDON

Latest update : 2017-07-01

French President Emmanuel Macron will not continue the tradition of the Bastille Day news conference – on the grounds that his “complex thoughts” are not suited to journalists’ questions.

Bastille Day is France’s key national holiday. On July 14, the nation commemorates the storming of the Bastille prison on the same date in 1789, which helped spark the French Revolution.

The President’s press conference on the day is a significant tradition going back to the Presidency of Valéry Giscard d’Estaing in the 1970s.

An Élysée Palace source quoted in Le Monde said Macron’s “complex thought process lends itself badly” to this ritual of journalistic questioning.

Le Monde quotes the source as emphasising that Macron does not “baulk” at talking to journalists.

Whereas his predecessor François Hollande talked of a “normal presidency”, Macron has talked of a “Jupiterian” one – referring to Jupiter, the Roman king of gods. Macron’s critics will likely regard this and the “complex thoughts” comment as showing that the president has an ego the size of the eponymous planet.

“In the process and function of democracy there is something missing, the figure of the king, whose death, I believe, fundamentally, the people did not want,” Mr. Macron told the weekly newspaper Le 1 two years ago. He said it “created an emotional void”.

Many observers say that Macron’s Presidency has reinvigorated French national pride after years of slow economic growth and le frog-bashing in the Anglo-Saxon world.

France’s pre-eminent novelist Michel Houellebecq has described Macron’s election as “group therapy” for the nation.

An aspect of Macron’s perceived reawakening of Gallic national confidence was his bone-crushing handshake of US President Donald Trump at their first meeting in Brussels on May 25. At Macron’s invitation, Trump will attend this year’s Bastille Day celebrations.

This is seen as part of Macron’s rejuvenation of le rayonnement français – the projection of French influence across the globe.

 

But it seems the president’s complex thoughts have not won him further kudos.

"Subtext: Journos too dumb to understand French psdt [president]," tweeted French journalist Sophie Claudet.

Date created : 2017-06-30

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