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French minister ‘received death threats’ over reforms

Bertrand Guay, AFP file picture | French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron speaks at the National Assembly in Paris on January 27, 2015

France's economy minister said on Monday he had received death threats from "certain officials" furious over his plans to reform parts of the closed-shop economy.


Emmanuel Macron told parliament he had taken legal action against "certain public officials" for "death threats that I have received."

"You will agree this is especially shocking," he added.

Macron is trying to push through a controversial series of laws that he hopes will, in his words, "unblock" France's economy, which is suffering from high unemployment and sluggish growth.

These include opening up heavily regulated professions such as notarial lawyers, sparking the unusual sight of these white-collar workers marching through the streets.

The reforms also include a proposal to extend Sunday shopping that sparked angry demonstrations.

Currently, professions such as notaries charge a fixed rate for their services and Macron had suggested introducing a "fee corridor" -- allowing them to deviate higher or lower from the fixed fee.

However, he back-tracked on this proposal on Monday, saying: "I have the same lucidity when I have made a mistake as I have conviction to defend what I believe in."

"I will suggest going back on this because it's an element of complexity," he added.

He accused the so-called "regulated professions" of "playing on fears" by claiming the reforms would lead to "tens of thousands of job losses."

"There has been too much emotion around this debate", he said, adding the reforms aimed to "modernise part of how the regulated professions work."


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