1, January 2018
French President Emmanuel Macron has promised to push for political and economic reforms both at home and in Europe this year.
Delivering his first New Year’s address as leader from the Élysée Palace in Paris on Sunday, Macron referred to some of his achievements in his first seven months in office and said he will pursue his reform agenda with the “same intensity” in 2018.
“These profound transformations… will continue with the same strength, the same rhythm and the same intensity in 2018,” said the 40-year-old president, promising to “continue to do that for which you elected me.”
Macron announced a “grand social project” in 2018 that would cover the health sector and housing for the homeless among other areas.
He also vowed to continue to work with Germany to reform the European Union (EU) and said “Europe is good for France.”
France’s youngest -ever president also pledged to welcome refugees and immigrants, though he said his country could not do so “without rules.
France took in around 220,000 refugees in 2015 and 2016.
The president plans to toughen the country’s immigration policy in a bill to be debated this year.
Mayors across France say they are overwhelmed by the influx and called the situation “a social emergency.”
According to the French interior minister, Gerard Collomb, the reforms on refugee policy would speed up asylum procedures and improve living conditions for them.
He said previously that the reforms would include a resettlement scheme that would see 20,000 housing units be built by 2018.