Macron defends his job as economy minister in the face of leaks about Uber in France

The president of France, Emmanuel Macron, has defended his actions in the face of the leak that points to the fact that he helped penetrate Uber by lobbying in the country when he was minister of Economy and has said that “he would do it again tomorrow and the day after tomorrow”.

The leaks — which claim that the strategy was to break laws, cheat and lobby at the highest levels — were revealed by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and point to Macron as one of those responsible, when he held the Economy portfolio.

Specifically, the more than 124,000 documents that make up the so-called ‘Uber Files’ lay bare the ethically questionable practices of the company then led by Travis Kalanick, which involved courting prime ministers, presidents, millionaires, oligarchs and media magnates.

In the papers there is a conversation between then director Travis Kalanicky and the current French president, Emmanuel Macron, then Minister of Economy, which reveals that he secretly helped the company to penetrate France by facilitating access to high-ranking officials.

“I was a minister. The minister I was did his job (…) I am very proud of it. If he created jobs in France I am proud of it. And you know what? I would do it again tomorrow and the day after tomorrow,” Macron defended during a visit to the STMicroelectronics factory in Crolles, in the Isère department.

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In this regard, he has pointed out, in response to criticism from the New Popular Ecologist and Social Union (NUPES), that “they have lost their compass.” “When you believe in social justice, in equal opportunities, you have to fight for young people who come from difficult environments to have jobs. It was never their fight,” he added, as reported by the newspaper ‘Le Monde’.

Thus, Macron has stressed that, when he assumed the Presidency, his Executive regulated the sector “without any complacency”. “We are the first country to regulate the platforms,” he explained, adding that he will continue to meet with companies and entrepreneurs “to convince them to invest in the country” and encourage employment.

“I will do everything possible to continue opening sectors where activity is blocked to continue creating jobs. I am proud for every young person who has been able to have job opportunities thanks to that,” he concluded.

Alexis Corbière, deputy of the opposition party La France Insoumise — one of the groups that make up the NUPES coalition — advocated Monday for the creation of a parliamentary commission to shed light on Macron’s links with the Uber company.

“It is very serious the idea that Macron, secretly pacting with a company, has deregulated the rules relating to cabs. What lesson can we learn from this? Obviously, the question must be asked. You can go to the government, you can create a commission of inquiry,” he asserted, according to information from the BFMTV television channel.

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Communist Party leader Fabien Roussel accused Macron of helping the rich instead of “protecting French citizens,” while politicians from the ruling Renaissance party defended that Macron has acted acceptably.

“I am responsible for industry and I meet with industrialists (…) Today, for example, I am meeting with Tetrapak,” said, for his part, the Deputy Minister of Economy, Finance and Industry, Roland Lescure, on his Twitter account.

However, for figures such as the secretary general of the General Confederation of Labor, Philippe Martinez, “the minimum” is for the head of state to “give explanations” on the matter. “He has to explain what he did and how he contributed not only to ensure the entry of Uber in France, but how this led to a reform that has facilitated this type of activity,” he has asserted.

The leaked documents are dated between 2013 and 2017 and include communications from Kalanick himself with his managers. One of them acknowledges that they behave like “pirates” and in another leaked document he says they are “fucking illegal.”

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