Taking the opportunity to take a political dig at her Presidential election rival, Valérie Pécresse said that she regrets the “loss of influence” that the country has seen over its economic situation. Suggesting that other global leaders and nations will not take France seriously is a real concern to the candidate who is seeking to oust Mr Macron at the elections coming up in April.
Speaking on a French talk show called: “C’est Dans L’air”, Ms Pécresse said: “I regret the loss of influence of France in the world because of our economic problems.
“The great powers such as the US, China, Russia, respect countries with strong economies.
“The fact that France has a commercial deficit and that we are over-indebted, that doesn’t make us attractive as partners.
“That deprives us of this economic power that is essential.”
Adding to the fact that France is struggling to control its borders, the Centre-Right candidate said the idea of building walls to control migration should not be ruled out.
She said: “A country that does not enforce its borders is a country whose laws are not respected.”
Ms Pécresse also pointed out that 40 million migrants pass through the Schengen borders each year without being checked.
These figures are false, according to Clément Beaune, Secretary of State for European Affairs.
He said: “How can one say such nonsense?
“Valérie Pécresse is confusing migrants with the total number of entries with visas (above all millions of tourists), and we are still far from the figure…
“This is serious,” he said in a Tweet.
Mr Macron said dialogue with Mr Putin would probably be enough to prevent military conflict from breaking out despite the pessimistic assessments in many western capitals.
He said: “The intensity of the dialogue we have had with Russia and this visit to Moscow is designed to stop that happening,
“Then we will discuss the terms of de-escalation.
“We have to be very realistic.
“We will not obtain unilateral gestures, but it’s essential to stop the situation deteriorating.”
Mr Macron, whose diplomacy has been strengthened by France being the current holder of the European presidency, said he had “always been in a deep dialogue with President Putin and our responsibility is to build a historic solution” to the problem of European security.
He added: “I believe President Putin is available for this.”
IS VALERIE PECRESSE RIGHT? IS FRANCE NO LONGER A GLOBAL POWER TO BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY? LET US KNOW YOUR THOUGHTS HERE
Also dispelling Ms Pécresse’s theory about France being a weak economy is the news that the country is already enjoying pre-pandemic levels of trade.
According to the New York Times: “The French economy grew 7 percent in 2021 — its fastest pace since 1969 — buoyed by government subsidies that fed investment and production, both of which surpassed pre-pandemic levels, according to official data released by the Insee statistics institute in Paris.
“In the final quarter of the year, the economy grew 0.7 percent, bolstered by an increase in consumer spending.”
Mr Macron has yet to officially declare himself in the running for a second term in office.
The deadline for the announcement is in the first week of March.
Mr Macron is widely expected to win should he declare.
Additional reporting by Maria Ortega