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France's Macron: I wouldn't change anything in dealings with Uber

Reuters WORLD
Published July 12,2022

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Tuesday he would not change a thing in the approach he took to U.S. ride-hailing firm Uber Technologies when he served as economy minister, after political foes said they would seek a parliamentary inquiry.

"I would do it again tomorrow and the day after tomorrow (...) we created thousands of jobs (...), I'm very proud," Macron told journalists whilst visiting a plant in the French Alps where STMicroelectronics and GlobalFoundries will build a new semiconductor facility.

The Guardian and Le Monde newspapers reported on Sunday that Uber broke laws and secretly lobbied politicians as part of an aggressive campaign to expand into new markets from 2013 to 2017.

Macron's office told Le Monde that as economy minister at the time he frequently had contact with many companies disrupting the service industry, and that it was appropriate to facilitate the lifting of red tape.

The new left-wing opposition Nupes alliance, headed by the anti-capitalist France Insoumise (France Unbowed) party, said it would seek a parliamentary investigation into Macron's role in helping the Californian company in France.

Olivia Gregoire, minister of small and medium companies, told parliament that Macron just "did his job" when he served as economy minister.

"He spoke with Uber. But also with Netflix, with AirBnB, Tesla (...) And why? Because those companies are at the core of today's economy," Gregoire said.

The Guardian reported that while other members of the then-Socialist government had misgivings about Uber's push onto taxis' turf, Macron exchanged text messages with Uber executives, who identified him as a key behind-the-scenes ally.

In response to the Guardian and Le Monde reports, Uber said in a statement: "We have not and will not make excuses for past behaviour that is clearly not in line with our present values."