French president vows to enhance security, lift state of emergency

President Emmanuel Macron has pledged to intensify security measures in France, stressing that the measure is aimed at restoring the freedoms lost under the country’s state of emergency.

Addressing members of the National Assembly and Senate in the Versailles palace on Monday, Macron said he wanted security to be stepped up so that the state of emergency could be lifted.

Critics say this could impinge on individual liberties as it gives new powers to police.

Macron underlined the need to “restore the freedoms of the French” and “guarantee full respect for individual liberties.”

He stressed that France must change, noting, “Until now, we were too often on the wrong track.”

The centrist president also called for a radically new path in France, demanding a one-third reduction in the number of parliament members as well as accelerated law-making.

The change will have “positive effects on the general quality of parliamentary work,” Macron said.

French President Emmanuel Macron addresses a special congress gathering in the palace of Versailles, outside Paris, on July 3, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

Macron, who enjoys a large majority in parliament, expressed hope that lawmakers would adopt the changes within a year, but noted that he would call a referendum “if necessary.”

The president warned the newly-elected lawmakers against triumphalism in the face of “gravity of the circumstances” both in France, with its stagnant economy, and in Europe which had “lost its way.”

“The building of Europe has been weakened by the spread of bureaucracy and by the growing skepticism that comes from that,” Macron said.

“The last 10 years have been cruel for Europe. We have managed crises but we have lost our way,” he pointed out.

France’s leftist politicians boycotted Macron’s speech. They were to hold a simultaneous protest rally outside Versailles.

Jean-Luc Melenchon, the leader of the radical leftist France Unbowed party, accused Macron of “crossing a line with the pharaonic aspect of his presidential monarchy.”

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