Macron in hot water over Uber links
French President Emmanuel Macron was pressed Monday to explain his previous support for the taxi app Uber while serving as Economy Minister.
Following media revelations seized by critics, French President Emmanuel Macron was pressed Monday to explain his past support for the taxi app Uber in his capacity as Economy Minister.
According to reports in the French newspaper Le Monde and the British newspaper The Guardian, Macron met with Uber executives several times while ministering from 2014 to 2016.
Le Monde also claimed, citing leaked internal documents and text messages, that Uber struck a secret "deal" with Macron on the regulation of the company's services at a time when it was upending the traditional taxi market.
Opposition MPs on the left and far-right slammed the President, a former investment banker who positioned himself as a pro-business, pro-innovation politician after being appointed Economy Minister.
Macron was "a lobbyist at the service of foreign private economic interests," senior far-right MP Sebastien Chenu told France Info radio on Monday morning. The 44-year-old President was "an ideologue for deregulation, for globalization," Chenu added.
What was the "secret deal"?
According to reports, Macron promised to help Uber work around legislation introduced in 2014 to regulate the new app-based taxi-hailing services.
Le Monde described Macron as "more than a supporter, almost a partner" during 17 meetings with Uber executives.
Uber is in big trouble! pic.twitter.com/YTx6Q3Djb3— Al Mayadeen English (@MayadeenEnglish) July 11, 2022
The company was facing multiple legal investigations at the time for its business practices, which violated French labor law and sparked sometimes violent protests from traditional taxi drivers.
Macron met with the heads of multinational investors in France on Monday at the Versailles chateau outside of Paris for the annual "Choose France" summit.
The most significant announcement was a 5.7 billion euro ($5.8 billion) investment by STMicroelectronics, a French-Italian chipmaker, and GlobalFoundries, a chipmaker based in the United States.
Contacted by AFP, Uber France confirmed that the company had been in contact with Macron during his time as minister.
The meetings had been in the normal course of his ministerial duties, which covered the private-hire sector, it said.
The President's office told AFP that at that time Macron had "naturally" been in contact with "many companies involved in the profound change in services that has occurred over the years mentioned, which should be facilitated by unraveling certain administrative or regulatory locks."
Macron was a vocal and public supporter of Uber when it arrived in France -- contrary to many colleagues in the Socialist government of the time.
The Uber Files investigation is based on a leak of tens of thousands of documents to Britain's Guardian newspaper from an anonymous source and has been coordinated by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.