Macron criticised for ‘snubbing’ France in favour of EU

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In a thinly-veiled swipe at President Macron, the Spanish leader said there is no need to resort to drastic measures to convince those who are yet to accept an anti-Covid vaccine in his country.

Asked if he would seek to “annoy” the unvaccinated, as Mr Macron put it last week, Mr Sanchez said: “I believe this is a relevant debate for other parts of Europe, but I believe that fortunately in Spain we can avoid this debate.”

He added that “more pedagogical measures” had already worked in his country.

According to Our World in Data, as of January 9, 81 percent of the Spanish population had completed a full cycle of vaccination.

And 86 percent had partly been vaccinated against COVID-19.

France, in comparison, only fully-vaccinated 74 percent of its residents, while 79 percent had been partly-vaccinated up until the same date.

Mr Macron last week prompted howls of condemnation from opposition rivals less than four months before the next presidential election.

Speaking to French daily Le Parisien, Mr Macron said: “The unvaccinated, I really want to p*** them off.

“And so, we’re going to continue doing so, until the end. That’s the strategy.”

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France last year put in place a health pass that prevents people without a PCR test or proof of vaccination to enter restaurants, cafes and other venues.

The government wants to turn it into a vaccine passport that means only the vaccinated can have a health pass.

Mr Macron continued: “I won’t send (the unvaccinated) to prison, I won’t vaccinate by force.

“So we need to tell them, from January 15, you won’t be able to go to the restaurant anymore, you won’t be able to down one, won’t be able to have a coffee, go to the theatre, the cinema…”

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The expression “emmerder”, from “merde”, that can also be translated as “to get on their nerves”, is considered “very informal” by French dictionary Larousse and prompted immediate criticism by rivals on social media.

The French President has been criticised in the past for off-the-cuff remarks which many French people said came across as arrogant, cutting or scornful.

He has later expressed contrition on several occasions.

Far-right leader Marine Le Pen said on Twitter: “A president shouldn’t say that.

“Emmanuel Macron is unworthy of his office.”

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