French President Emmanuel Macron promised 15 billion euros ($16.9 billion) of new funding on Monday to speed up moves to a greener economy, a day after the Greens trounced his party and took control of big cities in local elections.
Macron said he would move faster on environment-friendly policymaking and that he was ready to call a referendum in 2021 on revising the constitution to include climate goals if parliament allowed it. But he stopped short of promising one.
Macron was responding to proposals by a Citizens’ Climate Council he set up in response to the “yellow vest” movement that sprang up as a backlash against the cost of living but became a rebellion against him and his pro-business reform agenda.
“The challenge to our climate demands we do more,” he told members of the climate council in the Elysee Palace’s garden, hoping to burnish his green credentials for the final two years of his presidency.
He made no reference to Sunday’s vote, in which his LaRem party failed to win in any big city, leaving Macron, 42, without a local power-base as he eyes a possible bid for a second term as president in 2022.
The Greens won control of cities including Lyon, Bordeaux and Strasbourg, often in alliance with leftist allies, and is a junior partner in the winning Socialist-led alliance in Paris. It could also still emerge victorious in Marseille.
“We were given a real slap in the face, it’s really brutal,” Bruno Bonnell, a LaRem member of parliament, told Reuters.