French President Emmanuel Macron has warned that people in France must “accept the price of our freedom and values” as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues to cause death and destruction in Ukraine while disrupting Europe’s economy and resources.
"I am thinking of our people, who will need great fortitude to face the coming times, to overcome uncertainty, adversity, and sometimes resist taking the easy way out, and, united, accept the price of our freedom and our values,” the president said in a speech yesterday (August 19).
He was speaking during a ceremony marking the 78th anniversary of the liberation of Bormes-les-Mimosas (Var) from Nazi control. The town was freed on August 17, 1944. This year’s anniversary ceremony was due to take place on Wednesday but was delayed due to floods.
Mr Macron’s speech is understood to be a warning of more economic hardships ahead for people in France.
Europe has faced soaring gas prices – with issues over imports from Russia - as well as a hike in the cost of raw materials and foods normally imported from Ukraine or Russia.
Mr Macron has previously warned of possible difficulties after the summer and during the winter months in an interview on July 14.
The French government has introduced a string of measures to help people with rising living costs, including a fuel rebate, caps on energy bills and issuing various one-off bonuses to people to combat inflation.
The latest such payment is a €100 post-summer payment aimed at people receiving social aids or scholarships. This will be distributed to eligible households from September 15.
Russian gas giant Gazprom announced on Friday that it would again halt supplies to Europe for three days for "maintenance" reasons, reviving fears of shortages in Europe.
Ukraine’s heroic resistance
Mr Macron yesterday underlined his continued support for Ukraine, describing the country’s resistance as heroic in the face of “terrible assaults by the Russian army and its auxiliaries”.
“This war is knocking at our doors,” he said.
“The ghosts of the spirit of revenge, the flagrant violations of the sovereignty of states, the intolerable contempt for the peoples, imperialist will are all elements resurfacing from the past to impose themselves in the daily life of our Europe, of our neighbours, of our friends,” he said.
Mr Macron, who is currently on holiday, will return to Paris on Wednesday at latest where he will host the first post-summer cabinet meeting (conseil des ministres) along with his prime minister Élisabeth Borne.
On the agenda will be reforms to unemployment insurance and pensions and further measures to tackle the cost of living crisis.
Around 500 people turned out to meet Mr Macron and his wife Brigitte during the ceremony in Bormes-les-Mimosas. It was the fifth straight year the president has participated in the event.