French President Emmanuel Macron has defended his government and its response to the Covid-19 pandemic, saying that he laments France’s “incessant hunt for errors,” adding that such criticism is counterproductive during a crisis.
Speaking on Thursday, Macron took a swipe at his critics, saying France had become “a nation of 66 million prosecutors” constantly on the lookout for mistakes and government failings during the pandemic.
“And I say this because what goes with French mistrust is also this kind of incessant hunt for error. That is to say, we have become a nation of 66 million prosecutors. It is not the way we face the crisis or move forward,” the president said.
Macron said that those who hunt for errors in others’ work are the same people who do not push themselves, but instead do the same thing every day.
“We need to have women and men who push themselves, who have the capacity to invent what is not yet there and to make mistakes in order to be able to correct as quickly as possible and improve. That makes a great nation,” he asserted, adding that “we learn the most from our mistakes.”
Macron was speaking during the announcement of a national investment plan in quantum technology.
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The president’s remarks have already come under fire from the opposition. Some state that the criticism of the government is fair, particularly in relation to the slow start of the country’s Covid vaccination program, while others chided him for berating the French people.
“Virus or not, there is at least one thing that does not change, it is the propensity of Emmanuel Macron to vilify the French all the time!” tweeted right-wing Rassemblement National leader, Marine Le Pen.
Left-wing La France Insoumise politician Adrien Quatennens also criticized the president’s remarks, tweeting that Macron “really has a serious problem with democracy.”
Two investigations are currently underway into France’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, looking at whether the public officials who oversaw the response committed offenses including manslaughter and endangering lives.
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