Loud and Proud
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French President Emmanuel Macron, facing a parliamentary inquiry, defended his support of Uber after a major document leak from the company showed he was extraordinarily welcoming of the American ride-hailing giant before he was elected, the Washington Post reported.
Known as the “Uber Files,” the leaked internal communications were provided by a former Uber lobbyist to the Guardian newspaper and the US-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.
The data trove contains correspondence among top executives from 2013 to 2017. At the time, Macron served as France’s economy minister and had made no secret of his support for the firm.
Following the leaks, he declared that he was “very proud” of what he did and emphasized that the scope of the support was to provide jobs for young people “from difficult backgrounds.” He added that he would “do it again tomorrow and the day after tomorrow.”
His office also told the Post and other outlets that during his ministerial duties, Macron’s functions “naturally led him to meet and interact with many companies.”
But the correspondence showed that he would go out of his way to aid the company, including urging French regulators to be “less conservative” in their interpretation of rules limiting the company’s operations.
Despite his comments, the files could prove problematic for the young leader, who was recently reelected but lost his absolute majority in parliament to the far-left and far-right parties.
The documents dominated a portion of parliamentary debates this week, with lawmakers calling for an inquiry over the matter. France, like many other countries, fought Uber with legal action to protect its taxi sector.
Far-left leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon has frequently lamented the “uberization” of French society, an umbrella phrase encompassing ride-hailing and home delivery services. He has criticized Macron’s backing for a sector he believes has weakened labor rights.