French Green and environmental groups have expressed concern over French President Emmanuel Macron’s calls for Europe to suspend environmental regulations so as not to hinder reindustrialisation efforts.
On Thursday, Macron urged the EU to stop imposing environmental regulations, saying Europe had already done much more than other industrialized nations.
Macron made the comments as he unveiled his plan to “re-industrialize” France, which included tax breaks and other measures aimed at promoting green industries and European-made vehicles and batteries.
Speaking to a host of industry captains, he also called for a “European regulatory pause” on environmental restrictions, saying the EU had done “more than all its neighbours” and that it now “needs stability”.
“We are ahead of the Americans, the Chinese and any other country in the world in terms of regulation,” Macron said.
“We should not make new changes to the rules,” he added, stressing that this creates “risks” for project financing.
The EU aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55 percent by 2030 as part of the European Green Deal.
Macron’s comment caused consternation among MEPs in Brussels. The idea of a moratorium on some norms of the European Green Course has been advocated by the conservative European People’s Party (EPP).
“He is jumping on the EPP’s old horse, it makes no sense,” said Philip Lamberts, co-president of the Green group in the European Parliament.
Marie Toussaint, a Green MEP, called Macron’s comments “historic nonsense” given the severe drought conditions France is facing.
Pascal Confin, head of the European Parliament’s environment committee and a member of Macron’s Renaissance group, said the president had used an “unfortunate phrase that does not correspond to what France is doing”.
Macron, according to him, has since noted that “there is no question of repealing the legislation that is currently being discussed.”
In accordance with Le Monde The Elysée daily newspaper said the president “never spoke of a moratorium, the repeal of current regulations or those under negotiation.”
However, Paris wants to make sure that the 50 or so European Green Deal rules adopted or under negotiation do not hurt European industry too much, given that “Europe has the most ambitious environmental regulations in the world,” Eliseus said.
There is no friend of the earth
Laurette Philippot, campaign manager for the environmental non-profit organization Friends of the Earth France, said Macron is more like the president of Medef (the bosses’ union) than the president of France.’
“This statement is not only completely irresponsible, it is a serious admission of failure,” she told France Info.
“When we talk about environmental regulations, we are talking about regulations aimed at protecting the health of Europeans and their environment, so that they do not face the irreversible consequences of climate change.”
Macron’s comments prove that the industrial model he defends is “incapable of moving towards these standards,” she added.
Macron has repeatedly sounded the alarm over what Paris sees as the protectionist policies of the US administration of Joe Biden to support industry and the energy transition.
He called on Europe to protect itself from this competition, as well as from the rise of Chinese power.