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15 Jan, 2020 15:06

‘I am not the friend of the president’: Teacher rebuked by Macron in pensions confrontation left unimpressed

‘I am not the friend of the president’: Teacher rebuked by Macron in pensions confrontation left unimpressed

Emmanuel Macron issued a swift rebuke to an angry teacher who quizzed the French president about his government’s controversial pension reform plans, saying the man was “not friendly, nor respectful.”

The encounter unfolded on Tuesday morning during Macron’s visit to Pau, southwestern France. On the way to an event, he was intercepted by local college maths teacher and councillor Pierre Coste, who addressed the president angrily.

Macron swiftly rebuked the man for his heated tone, saying he should be showing exemplary conduct, to which Coste replied, “to be heard, you sometimes have to shout.” 

Coste also quizzed Macron on the role in France of Blackrock, a huge US global investment management company, and the recent nomination of the firm’s French branch chief for the Legion d’Honneur. 

“You’re all over the place,” the president struck back. “You’ve got it all mixed up.”

Afterwards, Coste explained to local reporters that he wanted to draw the president’s attention to pension reform as well as working conditions for teachers. He was unconvinced by Macron’s reply that teachers’ situation is improving and they’ll be big beneficiaries of the new pension scheme. 

“He stayed on his positions,” Coste said, adding: “He called me ‘my friend’; I am not the friend of the president.”

This isn’t the first time Macron has been caught on camera schooling a member of the public for their manner of addressing him. In 2018, the president was filmed admonishing a schoolboy who addressed him as ‘Manu’. “You call me ‘Mr President’ or ‘sir’,” Macron said.

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