French President Emmanuel Macron has caused confusion with a speech calling for a pause in the development of new EU environmental laws.
According to reports in the French media, Macron appeared to be calling for a moratorium on new climate laws or a brake on laws on nature restoration and against chemical agents in agriculture.
This coverage sparked outrage among environmentalists and green politicians, who feared that the French president wanted to reduce environmental protection efforts. However, a spokesman for the presidential palace stressed to Le Monde that Macron did not mean a halt to current laws. Instead, he stressed that the EU countries are already far enough ahead with their existing environmental laws compared to the United States.
Macron's plea for a pause in triggering further EU environmental laws is intended as a strategy to boost European industry and strengthen its competitive position against the United States.
According to Macron, the EU countries should now pay more attention to strengthening European industry and creating jobs, without the need for new environmental regulations.
Macron's speech has sparked a debate about the right balance between environmental protection and economic growth. Some accuse him of underestimating the urgency of climate change and putting environmental protection second.
Others see his plea as a strategy to support European industry and prevent it from being disadvantaged by stricter regulations compared to other economic powerhouses.
Reactions to Macron's speech remain divided. Environmentalists are pushing for more ambition in environmental protection, arguing that current environmental laws do not go far enough. On the other hand, some French companies and industries welcome Macron's call, believing it can strengthen Europe's competitiveness.
French politicians have also labeled Macron's speech on European industrial politics as a diversionary tactic to divert attention from his much-criticized laws for raising the retirement age.
It is clear that Macron's speech has led to misinterpretations and opened a debate about the direction of the EU in terms of environmental protection in relation to industrial development.