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French Voters Embrace Europe, Reject Nationalism; Macron Faces Challenges in Parliamentary Vote; Macron Has Pledged to Focus on Labor Reform. Aired 2-2:30p ET
Aired May 8, 2017 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:00:00] CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, he has won the election, but Emmanuel Macron's battles are far from over. His tough tasks
ahead -- healing France and putting it back to work.
I'm joined here in Paris by his spokeswoman Laurence Haim and friend of the new president-elect, the former World Trade Organization Chief Pascal Lamy.
Plus, early backer, the former Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin says that Macron needs to come out of the starting gate charging.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Starting from this strength before, we will show to Europe and mainly to Germany that yes, we are serious. We are committed to
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the program. I'm Christiane Amanpour in Paris.
Celebrating an election that represents not just a victory for Emmanuel Macron, but it is also a victory for European unity, for tolerance, for
openness. The center has held here in France, and it's delivered a resounding repudiation of the inward looking and xenophobic nationalism of
Marine Le Pen and her National Front.
And, today, Macron joined the current president Francois Hollande at the Arc de Triomphe, France's tomb of the Unknown Soldier, to commemorate V.E.
day and 72 years since Europe defeated fascism.
European leaders sent a reprieve as well. The German Chancellor Angela Merkel says that Macron carries the hopes of millions of people in France,
in Germany and across Europe.
But Macron has no time for complacency. Marine Le Pen promises to stick around to be his main opponent. Whilst on her left, activists and labor
unions already protesting Macron's economic plans.
And parliamentary elections next month, he has to go from zero deputies to a working majority in the National Assembly.
So there is certainly a lot on his plate as he finds his feet as president.
For more insight on how he might handle all these challenges ahead, I'm joined by two people who know him well. Laurence Haim, the spokeswoman for
"En Marched" and Pascal Lamy, the former head of the World Trade Organization and a friend of the new president.
Welcome to the program.
We want to know what's inside this man, what makes him tick.
Let me first ask you, Laurence, you've been with him since the campaign began and you've been at his side. What is he feeling as a human being
LAURENCE HAIM, SPOKESWOMAN, EN MARCHE: He's feeling very responsible. He made a lot of phone calls to foreign leaders. One hour ago, he made a
phone call to the president of the United States, Donald Trump.
AMANPOUR: He spoke to Trump now.
HAIM: He spoke to Trump, to the president of the United States. And he told him that he wants to work with him. He was quite excited to speak
with President Trump. They spoke for ten minutes together. It was an interesting conversation about important issues -- how to fight
terrorists, the importance of the Transatlantic Relation and also what President Macron wants to do in terms of the economy and also about climate
change, which is, as you know, a very important and sensitive issue for the French.
AMANPOUR: So let me just ask you, because we hear that any minute now, President Trump is going to make a decision in consultation with people who
have different views inside his own White House.
What did Macron, the president, say to his counterpart in the United States about that?
HAIM: He told him that he's going to try to protect what was made in Paris. Again, it was not a very deep conversation. It was the first time
they spoke together. But President-elect Macron was really happy about his first conversation. And let me tell you, he's going to protect the climate
agreement, and he's going to make sure he will be vigilant to protect also the French people. But he was happy to speak with the president -- with
AMANPOUR: That's really an important relationship.
HAIM: Yes, because President Trump has been elected democratically, and we respect democracy. So that was also the message of President-elect Macron
to President Trump.
AMANPOUR: OK. Pascal Lamy, and let me by the way, you know, let people know that we're all bundled up as if it's winter. It is a very, very cold
day here in Paris after a very warm reception that Emmanuel Macron got last night. You know him and you know him well. He's a young man.
People describe him as untested, unelected. You know, he's facing a huge number of challenges. What do you know about him that will give confidence
to his electors, that he has the fortitude to make those promises work?
[14:05:00] PASCAL LAMY, FORMER CHIEF, WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION: Well, that's a good question, because he's a -- for many people, he's an unknown
I mean, he's not the sort of guy that has been in politics for 20 years. Climbing the ladder bit by bit, he just rushed into the system. But it's
also proof that the guy is pretty strong. He's young but he knows what he wants. He wants to reform France. He wants to change the political
system. And he knows that he's on half of the way in getting arrest yesterday, which was a big surprise for most of us.
A year ago, even his closest friend probably wouldn't have thought more than 10 percent chance to be elected. Now, he's done that, but what we
know is that we have parliamentary elections next month and his capacity to do what he intends to do will depend a lot on whether or not --
AMANPOUR: So tell us, because they've had a press conference. The En Marche movement. I know you're changing the name, but they talked about 50
percent is going to have to be women, the candidates who were chosen. 50 percent have to come from a civilian background.
What kind of people is he looking for, for this parliamentary election. And do you believe with all your experience that he's going to get it. And
if he doesn't, what happens?
LAMY: I think he might get it. And I think the people who are with him are people, for most of them were not in politics a year ago. I mean, have
attended like probably a year lost.
The people who were there, including coming from now suburbs in big towns, where people who previously were disgusted with politics. So he has
energized them. And I think there is an energy potential which might translate into a parliamentary majority.
AMANPOUR: In a lot of might, and I want to ask you Laurence, because everybody wants something to be different. He, yesterday, acknowledged
that there were a certain number of people, a good number of people who didn't vote for him, they voted against her.
Apparently according to one newspaper, that's about 43 percent of his vote was to stop Marine Le Pen. And then of course, you've got the abstentions
and you've got the spoiled ballots.
How does he unite all these people?
HAIM: There's going to be a challenge, but he's quite confident in the power of the French people. He's saying that the French people understand
the message. And that the French people are going to give him the mandate. And, you know, now it's not "En Marche," meaning let's hope. It's the
republic is walking. The Republique en marche.
There's an idea about that. Everyone was telling him, and I know that. You've just said that. Oh, you're naive. You're not going to succeed.
We're living in a historical time in France. The traditional parties are dead. You have Emmanuel Macron and the Republique en Marche against the
far right. And that's going to be the story in the next months and years.
So we have to face what's happening. We have to understand that people are angry, disappointed by politicians. That's why we are opening the movement
to a lot of people from the civilian society, who believe in the power of people.
AMANPOUR: So let me ask you then, because one of the insignias of every new French leader are the promises and their willingness to take on, for
instance, this sclerotic, you know, stoppages in the whole labor system here.
He wants to do the same today. We've had, you know, a handful, but nonetheless protests in the republique.
Is he going to be able to get the unions to play ball and not bring out their people to, you know, massive strikes the minute he starts to do
LAMY: I don't have any certainty about that. But what I know is that he will try much harder than his predecessor. Whether Sarkozy -- by the way,
Hollande, who neither of them really tried.
He's got part of the unions on his side, and notably the major union, the number one union in France now, which is (INAUDIBLE), he will try. But he
will need a parliamentary majority to do that.
His basic front is very simple. We have far too much unemployment in France. In order for this to decrease and we need this to decrease, if we
don't want Marine Le Pen five years from now, his big challenge is shrinking unemployment. And in order to do that, we need to reform the
AMANPOUR: Yes, because this is a rich country. There's no reason why you have that unemployment.
LAMY: That's his program. He's been saying he will do that. And I think he will do.
HAIM: I think he has a clear plan in mind. And the clear plan is the following one. You're going to have the legislative election in mid-June,
and you're going to have a majority even if it's difficult. It's a battle at this moment. And then after, he's not going on vacation. Nobody is
going on vacation. And he said that this way.
[14:10:00] He's going at the beginning of July to by executive orders some reform about the labour walk, the labour system, to simplify that, to make
sure that people want to invest in France again, and that people are going to walk more closely inside the companies with the unions.
He wants to re-establish the dialogue between the people who are walking in some companies and also the unions. This is quite a challenge, but it's
positive. And that's why you're telling him it's going to be difficult. You're going to do it. He said look what I did in one year.
AMANPOUR: Well, yes.
HAIM: You have to believe in his power.
AMANPOUR: Well, you know, the French people have to believe in it and he has to deliver. And, clearly, a lot of people are on his side. All of
Europe is on his side. Europe feels that it dodged a bullet by his election. We've had the, you know, responses from Angela Merkel, the
chancellor and everybody else.
What does Europe have to do to make it work here? To allow reforms here and not to stick to austerity?
LAMY: I'm not sure I would agree that Europe today is about austerity nor by the way would he. But what he has in mind is a clear plan to integrate
the part of Europe within the Euro zone.
So he wants political integration to be more in line with economic integration within the euro zone. And I think as notably the Germans take
it as a guide, I mean, he has quite a lot of credit.
There will be probably a Franco-German couple that might have that working with France respecting more European disciplines and the Germans accepting
more solidarity, which I think is the trade-off, which means to him.
AMANPOUR: So if the Germans are pretty happy, the Brits may not be so happy, because now they see a different president than maybe that might
help them with their Brexit. This is what Theresa May just said in response to President Macron's election.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Yesterday, a new French president was elected. He was elected with a strong mandate, which he can take into it
as a strong position in the negotiations. The UK, we need to ensure we've got an equally strong mandate and equally strong negotiating platform.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Well, there, she's using his victory for her campaign, like give me the power, I need strong negotiations.
When Emmanuel Macron came to London, we all met him. He was quite -- he is not punishing Britain, but he's not going to let Britain have ala carte to
get off easily.
How is this going to work?
HAIM: No, you're right. I mean, he said that to the prime minister when he met her. He spent one hour with her. He spoke in English with her,
because he speaks fluent English. There was no translator. And he was telling her, I'm going to protect France, I'm going to be vigilant and I'm
going to make sure that I'm protecting my people.
You know you have a lot of French people living in England. They have a lot of questions about what's going to happen. He's going to be vigilant
about the effect of Brexit, and he told her that. He's going to be clear and strong. He wants to do that.
And he spoke again with her last night, by the way. He spoke with the prime minister of Canada, Justine Trudeau. He spoke also with Theresa May.
Yesterday, he wanted to acknowledge the importance of some people.
AMANPOUR: Just because you're so versed in all of this, what do you feel right now today about Brexit, the way the British are going for it, the way
they say there's no deal will go to WTO, whatever it is.
What's your analysis of where it stands right now?
LAMY: Well, my analysis is that it's about (INAUDIBLE). I mean, that's what Brexit is about. It's about taking (INAUDIBLE), which is pretty
complex thing to do. Pretty difficult. It's going to be costly for the Brit. If it's costly for Brits, it's going to be costly for us, because we
still have an incredibly powerful trade on economic relationship. So let's hope that we succeed in limiting the cost of this decision, but which
cannot be a positive for the future.
AMANPOUR: And Britain is not going to be as well off?
LAMY: I don't think so. I don't think so. I notably, because if you eject the egg out of the omelette, you reinstate borders and borders are
costs. And there's no way, UK can be outside Europe without having borders. And that's a simple thing which we have known for ages that
borders are costly. A lot of trade policies in the world have been about removing or shrinking borders. We are just reinstating it. So we are
moving back in history.
AMANPOUR: An important reality check from the former head of the WTO. Laurence Haim, Pascal Lamy, thank you so much for joining us on this
[14:15:00] And more on France's historic presidential election next. My interview with the former French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin when
we come back.
AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program, live from Paris tonight. As we continue to look at Emmanuel Macron's historic victory and what that will
mean for France and indeed Europe and the rest of the world.
The former French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin came out early for Macron and he told me earlier this evening that he is advising the new
AMANPOUR: Mr. De Villepin, welcome to the program.
DOMINIQUE DE VILLEPIN, FORMER FRENCH PRIME MINISTER: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: You are a very early backer, and you come from the right side of the political spectrum. You were the foreign minister and prime minister
for Jacques Chirac.
What did you see in Mr. Macron that made you want to back him early?
DE VILLEPIN: Well, it's a fantastic opportunity for France to write a new page. We've been stuck with problems for many years, and Emmanuel Macron
will represent a chance to change the system, to change politics but also to change the French model. And there are a lot of hopes that I put in
AMANPOUR: Yes. So, look, already people are saying, you know, the challenges. You've got already some of the unions gathering people.
Already today demonstrating in the Place de la Republique, and people who didn't vote for him, people who abstain, people who spoiled their ballots.
Tell me how realistic is his promise to change the system? How much can he do?
DE VILLEPIN: The window of opportunity is of course quite narrow. But I think it's -- luck is the possibility today, because everybody understands
that the country needs to transform.
The possibility today is to have a progressive reform. He has to show to the French people that reform can be made, progressively, and show that he
can be a success. He wants to start by reforming the labor market. Reforming the system of pension. Reforming the unemployment insurance.
Reforming the training education. These reforms are key to show to the French people that, yes, we can make it.
And the bet is do it. It's that starting from this French reform, we will show to Europe and mainly to Germany, that yes, we are serious. We are
committed to change. And of course, after the German elections in September, that might be a fantastic opportunity to have the Franco-German
couple back to transform the European policy. And this will depend very much on the capacity of the German to change from policy austerity to a
new, more open policy.
AMANPOUR: So I was going to ask you, because last night, the foreign minister, Sigmar Gabriel, who is obviously not of Chancellor Merkel's
party, he's the social Democrat said that we must do that to help Mr. Macron move away from this austerity so that he can have reform.
But is that Chancellor Merkel's view? Do you think she wants to help in that?
DE VILLEPIN: I think Chancellor Merkel has seen in the last years, starting with the Brexit, starting with the Trump election, starting with
this attrition in Poland, in Hungary and everywhere, in France, she has seen the consequences of this austerity policy. And she knows that we
cannot play that kind of game. Because then, we may have so many problems in Europe -- rising of populism, discontent, social revolution.
[14:20:12] So she's facing a huge choice. But I do believe that she understands that she must move on. And this is a fantastic opportunity,
not only for France, not only for Germany, but for Europe. We have to be the country model, showing to the world that, yes, we can answer the needs
of our population.
AMANPOUR: So what does he have to do then? What is his first speech to the nation?
DE VILLEPIN: I do believe that there are two preconditions. The first one is to transform the presidential function. He has to transform the way the
presidency works. Go back to what the presidency was at the beginning of the fifth republic. A president who is a referee, who can show the big
orientation, speak to the nation and have the nation behind him.
The second thing he needs, he needs a majority.
AMANPOUR: Will he get it? Everybody is saying, oh, he doesn't have any deputies.
DE VILLEPIN: It's difficult. I'm not going to lie to you, it's difficult. He needs to have the first government who needs to be a team, work
collectively and show optimism and ability to understand the French people. But if he gets this majority, then starting with this first reform, the
labor market, he can show to the French people he's committed to apply the project he has been elected on.
There is a big debate, whether he should stick in doing this through a special order, a presidential order, (INAUDIBLE), or if he should do it by
law like we do it traditionally. So that's an important symbolic choice.
AMANPOUR: You mean like giving executive order.
DE VILLEPIN: Exactly.
AMANPOUR: So that's my next question. How is he going to get along with the president of the United States? How important is that relationship for
France today? And particularly obviously since most people believe that Donald Trump supported Marine Le Pen.
DE VILLEPIN: It's important for France, but it's important for Europe. I think that he is to show through this election and through the German
election that Europe is a very serious continent.
I do believe that without Europe, the world would be much more dangerous. We need Europe. We need to balance Europe. We need a serious Europe. We
need to modernize Europe. And then we might be able to take the lead in terms of the capacity in helping solving the problems of the world.
So the partnership between France, Europe, and the U.S. will be much stronger because we will open the way. And then, of course, Donald Trump
and the U.S. administration are going to be obligate to follow us.
What is the biggest foreign policy challenge for the next French president?
DE VILLEPIN: I think his biggest challenge is to try to go back to what used to be the French position on foreign policy. A balanced position,
using French position to mediate in conflicts, have good relations with everybody, showing that dialogue, any political vision.
What the world lacks the most is a political vision. In order to try to find solution for the crisis of the Middle East, try find solutions with
the crisis with Russia, and try to find a way to organize a new world governance with China, who is the big, big country that is going to be one
of the biggest challenge for the rest of the world.
AMANPOUR: Dominic de Villepin, thank you very much indeed.
DE VILLEPIN: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: And many see Macron's victory as a stabilizing force in the EU. But stress tests do lie ahead and not lease Brexit as we've discussed. The
elusive British graffiti artist Banksy has put his spin on that for the very first time.
On a huge wall there in Dover, last stop before France, he shows the European flag, and a worker removing the UK's star. Ouch!
After a break, we imagine a world reaction to Macron's big win. That's next.
[14:26:10] AMANPOUR: And finally tonight, imagine the meteoric rise of Emmanuel Macron, from never before elected and certainly never a reality TV
star to president in one year.
French media is agog, touting their youngest leader ever. The left leaning "Liberation" congratulating Macron on the front page and bidding good
riddance to the far right Marine Le Pen on the back page.
Macron's face graces the front of every German paper as Europe breathes a sigh of relief. While in the UK, Brexit papers shutter slightly. Like-
minded politicos who also fought bitter campaigns against hate and fear by the London Mayor Sadiq Khan congratulated Macron, as did president who
preferred Le Pen like Trump and Putin.
And, finally, this election also showed hackers could try to interfere but they could not get away with it. A massive last-minute leak of Macron's e-
mails and documents didn't seem to sway French voters.
While in the United States, Russian interference and Kremlin connections continue to haunt the Trump administration. And, today, the former acting
attorney general Sally Yates is set to reignite that controversy when she testifies on former national security adviser Michael Flynn and his ties to
Russia. And we will be crossing to our live coverage of that in just a moment.
That is it for our program tonight. Remember, you can always listen to our podcast, see us online @Amanpour.com and follow me on Facebook and Twitter.
Thanks for watching and goodbye from Paris.