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French President Emmanuel Macron has announced two billion euros in tax cuts for the middle class before the end of his term, continuing his efforts to bypass his government’s controversial pension reform.

In a televised interview on Monday night, Macron said he wanted to “concentrate” two billion euros of tax cuts on people “who work hard, who want to raise their children well and who today, because the cost of living has risen … have problems creating make ends meet at the end of the month.”

Without specifying specific measures, the president said he had asked his administration to come up with proposals to focus on shrinking the middle class, which he described in an interview over the weekend as “those who are too rich to get welfare and not rich enough to live well.” “, who earn from 1,500 to 2,500 euros per month.

Departure from the pension reform

In recent weeks, the president has focused on the economy — jobs and reindustrialization — in an attempt to move away from pension reform, which he reiterated was “necessary to balance our accounts and our children’s future.”

While acknowledging the resistance to reform, he insisted that it was still important not to change course.

Even if there are disagreements, no one changes, does not change course,” he said. “Investors see the strength of what we’ve done.”

Macron rejected accusations that he had behaved with contempt during the pension reform debate, telling co-host Gilles Boulet that if he had been contemptuous, he would not have addressed people as he did as a politician.

“If you have contempt, you don’t care. Real contempt is lying to people. This is contempt,” he said.

Training of Ukrainian fighter pilots

Turning to the war in Ukraine, Macron said he had “opened the door” to training Ukrainian fighter pilots.

A day after a surprise meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Paris, Macron said several other European countries were willing to train fighter pilots, and he said he believed talks with the United States were continuing.

“We need to start preparations today, this is an agreement we concluded with a number of European countries,” he said, without specifying which preparations.

“France’s strategy is simple, it is to help Ukraine resist,” he said, adding that any possible future deliveries of fighter jets to Ukraine remained a “theoretical debate.”

(from AFP)