Emmanuel Macron, le président de la République française, has angered some of his fellow countrymen by vowing to piss off the unvaccinated as part of the French government’s strategy to make sure everyone gets the jab, le Guardian reports.
“I am not about pissing off the French people,” Macron said (in French) in response to questions from the readers of the newspaper Le Parisien on Tuesday. “But as for the non-vaccinated, I really want to piss them off. And we will continue to do this, to the end. This is the strategy.”
In France, about three-fourths of the eligible population has been fully vaccinated. To les Américains, this may seem like an astonishingly magnifique number, but Macron is determined to close the gap and get the unvaccinated minority on board. Namely, in his words, “by pissing them off even more.” (The term that Macron used for “piss off” was emmerder, which the BBC describes as a “vulgar term.”)
In practical terms, this looks like passing a law that would require proof of vaccination to access restaurants, cafes, museums, cinemas, concert and sports venues, long-distance trains and planes, and other areas of public life. Since last summer, a health pass issued to those who are vaccinated or who test negative for COVID-19 has been required to access any of the above anyway — but this new legislation would require that users get vaccinated.
“In a democracy, the worst enemies are lies and stupidity,” Macron said. “We are putting pressure on the unvaccinated by limiting, as much as possible, their access to activities in social life … When my freedoms threaten those of others, I become someone irresponsible. Someone irresponsible is not a citizen.”
Macron’s fiery language succeeded in outraging many members of the conservative opposition, as well the leftist France Insoumise party leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who called the vaccine pass “a collective punishment against individual liberties.”
The French parliament suspended debate on the new bill on Wednesday, with opposition lawmakers demanding that Macron explain his pissy remarks, per Reuters. “A president cannot say such things,” Christian Jacob, chair of the Les Republicans party, told parliament. Les Américains, you are allowed to laugh here once more.
But Macron evidently has no remorse for his language. “Who is pissing off who today? It’s those who refuse the vaccine,” said government spokesperson Gabriel Attal.
The consensus among analysts is that Macron — who also took the Le Parisien interview as an opportunity to coyly say, without fully committing to it yet, that he would like to run for re-election — likely made a calculated decision to emmerder all over the place leading up to April’s presidential election. Ah, les Français, they lead such chic and interesting lives.