Calls grow for inquiry into Macron s links to Uber lobbying

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Paris, July 11: French opposition politicians from the left and far right have seized on the Uber files revelations to criticise President Emmanuel Macron, after the trove of documents showed his past help for the company's lobbying campaign to disrupt traditional taxis, media reports said.

The revelations come at a difficult time for Macron's centrists, who lost control of parliament in recent legislative elections, The Guardian reported.

Several figures from the left to the far right, as well as the leader of the leftwing CGT trade union, called for a parliamentary inquiry into reports that Emmanuel Macron, while he was economy minister from 2014 to 2016, went to extraordinary lengths to support Uber's lobbying campaign to help it disrupt France's closed-shop taxi industry, telling the tech company he had brokered a secret "deal" favourable to Uber with a bitterly divided Socialist party, then in power.

Aurelien Tache, a member of parliament who was elected for Macron's party in 2017 but reelected this year as part of the leftwing opposition coalition, Nupes, told France Info radio: "It's almost like a bad thriller – meetings and rendez-vous that were hidden."

He said the fact that the company asked Macron for advice during a raid on their offices by government inspectors must be investigated.

"It's a state scandal," he said, The Guardian reported.

Alain Vidalies, who was the Socialist transport secretary at the time Uber was attempting to establish itself in France, told France Info radio he was "gobsmacked" by the extent of Macron's support of Uber lobbying, particularly that Macron had taken part in "quasi-secret" meetings with the company, which he called a type of "complicity". He said the French people had a right to "a response and clarifications" from the executive.

Mathilde Panot, the parliamentary leader of the hard-left opposition party France Unbowed, denounced what she described as the "pillage of the country" during Macron's time as minister under president Francois Hollande. She described Macron as a "lobbyist" for a "US multinational aiming to permanently deregulate labour law".

Jordan Bardella of the far-right National Rally party said the revelations showed that Macron's career had "a common thread: to serve private interests, often foreign, before national interests", The Guardian reported.

Aurore Berge, the parliamentary leader of Macron's centrist party, said Macron had simply been doing his job and doing it well. She told CNews that Uber had created a service that French people wanted and Macron had rightly facilitated the arrival of companies that created jobs.

On accusations of a secret deal, she said: "There was no deal, there was no quid pro quo."


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