French President Emmanuel Macron says the coronavirus pandemic will remake capitalism

Associated PressFrench President Emmanuel Macron delivers a speech at the Ecole Militaire Friday, Feb. 7, 2020 in Paris. French President Emmanuel Macron, who leads the European Union’s only post-Brexit nuclear power, on Friday advocated a more coordinated EU defence strategy in which France, and its arsenal, would hold a central role. (AP Photo/Francois Mori, Pool)
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  • France’s President Emmanuel Macron believes the coronavirus pandemic has the ability to remake capitalism, calling the situation “unthinkable” and noting that all countriess now have to “invent something new.”
  • Macron also said that if EU member states don’t help hard-hit countries such as Spain and Italy, it could lead to a rise in populism that would weaken the union.
  • The coronavirus situation in France has started to level off. Macron announced on April 13 his intention to begin reopening the nation on May 11.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

France’s President Emmanuel Macron believes the coronavirus pandemic has the ability to remake capitalism. In an interview with the Financial Times, Macron called the situation “unthinkable” and noted that countries need to take this opportunity to “invent something new” because “that is all we can do.”

The newspaper added that he sees the pandemic as “profound anthropological shock” for the entire world, with the life-saving halt in so much economic activity having no precedent. He added that he sees it having a massive impact on the structure of international capitalism, among other things.

Macron said he hopes countries will begin, in the aftermath of the pandemic, to prioritise people over profit and to be more open toward addressing socioeconomic inequality and environmental issues.

He also called on countries in the EU to help out countries such as Spain and Italy, which have been hit particularly hard by the pandemic. Spain has over 180,000 cases of the virus, with just over 19,000 reported deaths, while Italy has reported nearly 170,000 cases with over 22,000 known deaths. President Macron told the FT he fears that not helping such members would further fuel the kind of populism that would weaken the EU. (He also wants an immediate moratorium on African countries’ bilateral and multilateral debt payments.)

“People will say, ‘What is this great journey that you [the EU] are offering? These people won’t protect you in a crisis, nor in its aftermath, they have no solidarity with you,” he said. “They’re for Europe when it means having your labour come over and produce the car parts we no longer make at home. But they’re not for Europe when it means sharing the burden.”

Macron also sounded unsure of what exactly will happen, adding that “no one knows” if the crisis is still beginning or somewhere in its middle. “There is lots of uncertainty and that should make us very humble,” he said. But he added that he hopes it will “change the nature of globalization,” which he added was “reaching the end of its cycle” anyway.

“We had the impression there were no more borders. It was all about faster and faster circulation and accumulation,” he told the publication. “There were real successes … but particularly in recent years it increased inequalities in developed countries. And it was clear this kind of globalization was reaching the end of its cycle, it was undermining democracy.”

The coronavirus outbreak in France appears to be lightening up, according to the nation’s Director of Health Jérôme Salomon. On April 13, President Macron announced his intentions to reopen France by May 11, as hospital admissions and death rates have leveled off, though the nation’s borders will remain closed to non-EU member states. France has been on lockdown since March 16.

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