French President Emmanuel Macron stands by his controversial statements about unvaccinated people. Earlier this week, the president told Le Parisien newspaper that he wanted to “make life miserable for unvaccinated Frenchmen”.
Political opponents strongly criticized him for both his message and his use of language.
Macron told the newspaper that he wants to restrict unvaccinated people in everyday life, for example, by denying them access to the hospitality industry. The president explained that he wanted to thwart unvaccinated people, using the word ’emmerder’, derived from the French word for shit, ‘merde’.
Opponents called it “disgusting” statements that create “second-class citizens”. Macron responded Friday that it is necessary to restrict unvaccinated people to protect more than 90 percent of French people who have been vaccinated. About 5 million of the 67 million French inhabitants are currently not vaccinated against the coronavirus. “People can be outraged by language, and I am outraged by the situation in the country,” the president said.
Macron also told Le Parisien that people who do not get vaccinated are unworthy to be called French citizens. The president stressed on Friday that “citizens have rights and obligations”. Duties come; first, the president says. The uproar over Macron comes at a sensitive time.
His government wants to introduce new legislation that requires a vaccination certificate for, for example, catering visits or travelling long distances by public transport. The French lower house approved the law on Thursday, but it still has to go through the Senate.