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Macron to Hold Rare Press Conference, Setting Course for New PM

Paris, January 16, 2024, The Europe Today: French President Emmanuel Macron is set to host a rare press conference at the Elysee Palace, breaking a nearly five-year tradition of not holding full-scale question-and-answer sessions in France. The 46-year-old centrist’s address, scheduled for 8:15 pm (1915 GMT), will be broadcast on prime-time television channels and is anticipated to outline the direction for France’s youngest-ever prime minister, 34-year-old Gabriel Attal, appointed last week.

Macron, often criticized for his perceived aloofness and monarchical tendencies, has opted for alternative communication methods, including social media posts and videos, instead of traditional press conferences. The upcoming event is expected to be a marathon session, addressing various issues and setting the tone for Macron’s second term in the face of challenges such as the lack of a parliamentary majority and internal divisions.

The recent cabinet reshuffle, characterized by a slight shift to the right, is seen as an effort to revitalize Macron’s leadership ahead of the European elections in June. Macron has urged the new ministerial team led by Attal to be “revolutionary” and revive the bold change spirit from his initial election in 2017.

While critics highlight the lack of women in key ministerial positions and question the government’s priorities, Macron aims to use this press conference to articulate his vision and goals for the upcoming term. The president’s last comprehensive interaction with journalists occurred in April 2019, following the “yellow vest” protests, a significant challenge during his first term.

With renewed emphasis on addressing the nation directly, Macron’s press conference follows the recent passage of a controversial immigration law in December. Macron has expressed concerns about the law’s constitutionality, and the Constitutional Council is set to rule on its legality on January 25. The press conference is anticipated to provide insights into Macron’s strategy for navigating these challenges and shaping the trajectory of his leadership.