During a 35-minute interview, the president tried to outline short-term prospects, but above all he had to once again plead for a "necessary" reform that he does not lead "for pleasure".
"I have no regrets", except for not "having succeeded in convincing people of the need" for the reform, he said. But "there are not 36 solutions" than to work more in the face of "all opposition". The Head of State pinpoints the latter by saying that for them, "the project", "is the deficit".
A presidential interview which immediately made the trade unions jump, which are preparing for a 9th day of strikes and mobilizations on Thursday.
"The foutage of the mouth and contempt for the millions of people who demonstrate", slammed the boss of the CGT, Philippe Martinez.
"Denial and lies", fulminated Laurent Berger, while Mr. Macron had just affirmed that the boss of the CFDT had proposed "to increase the durations" of work during the last congress of the Belleville power station.
Mr. Macron, who on Tuesday dismissed any immediate prospect of a reshuffle, dissolution or referendum, outlined the arguments deployed by his camp since the activation of 49.3 on this controversial reform and the motion of censure against his government which failed to nearly nine voices.
This reform was "enriched by parliamentarians", "voted by the Senate" and "adopted by the Assembly following the use of article 49.3, and therefore by a vote of a motion of censure against the government which has failed", pleaded Mr. Macron, pending the decision of the Constitutional Council.
"If we have to endorse unpopularity today, I will endorse it," assumed the head of state, who went back on his statements the day before at the Elysée Palace in front of parliamentarians from his majority, on "the crowd" which has "no legitimacy in the face of the people who express themselves, sovereign, through their elected representatives".
Capitol and Brasilia
Remarks which targeted the elected officials targeted by the violence, he assured Wednesday, citing the invasion of the Capitol by supporters of Donald Trump and places of power in Brasilia by those of Jair Bolsonaro. "We cannot accept either the rebels or the factions," he insisted on Wednesday.
This outing had caused some embarrassment even within his camp. "I would not have said things like that", had reacted in the morning Wednesday François Bayrou.
The president "lives outside of all reality" and lavishes his "traditional marks of contempt", protested after the Jean-Luc Mélenchon interview.
"I fear that he has put no more explosives on an already well-lit inferno", metaphorized the boss of the PS Olivier Faure, for whom the Head of State "refills the same recipes a hundred times" and "seeks decay".
After more than two months of protest, the demonstrations have multiplied since 49.3. On Wednesday, several blocking actions against the pension reform, affecting oil depots, ports, roads, the electricity sector and a university took place across the country.
For Jonathan Moy, 25, a master's student in biology at Jussieu, the word that sums up the president's intervention is "disconnection, always and even more visible". "He no longer listens to us, he is in his world, in his bunker," he complains.
At service stations, the situation is deteriorating slightly, with 14,30% of stations short of at least one type of fuel against 12% on Tuesday, and 7,13% are dry, against 6% on Tuesday.
"Co-construction" at the Assembly
Wednesday morning, the A55 in the Fos-sur-Mer-Marseille direction was closed due to pallet fires. The port of Marseille-Fos was also totally blocked as part of a "dead ports" day at the call of the CGT while punch actions are also carried out around the port area of Capécure, in Boulogne -on sea.
The Puget-sur-Agens oil depot (Var) is blocked by demonstrators, as are two roundabouts serving two oil depots north of Bordeaux.
The day before, new demonstrations in Paris or Nantes were interspersed with incidents. In total, from police sources, 128 arrests took place in France, including 81 in Paris. 61 police and gendarmes were injured.
In schools, the Snuipp-FSU, the leading union in nursery and elementary schools, provides between 40 and 50% of primary school teachers on strike Thursday.
Eager to get out of this retirement sequence, the president tried on Wednesday to give prospects. Charges Elisabeth Borne, in whom he has renewed his confidence, with "building a government program" likely to "expand" the relative majority in the Assembly, in a process of "co-construction of a parliamentary agenda with the 'combined forces of the two chambers'.
First change of agenda: the immigration bill, presented as the next victim of opposition in the Assembly, will be split into "several texts" in "the coming weeks".
The president also wants to "re-engage" a dialogue with the social partners on working conditions. But "we have to wait a few days, a few weeks", he observed, while the unions, Thursday, will beat the pavement again.
Pensions, immigration, superprofits: Macron's main statements
"Necessary" pension reform, unpopularity assumed, renewed confidence in Elisabeth Borne: here are the main statements of Emmanuel Macron during his television interview on TF1 and France 2, Wednesday, in the midst of social protest.
A "necessary" reform
Despite the dispute, President Emmanuel Macron considered that this reform was "necessary". "There are no 36 solutions" apart from raising the legal retirement age to 64. The Head of State wanted the flagship project of his second five-year term to come "into force by the end of the year" so that 1,8 million retirees "start to be increased by around 600 euros per year on average.
"Me, I am not looking to be re-elected (...) but, between the short-term polls and the general interest of the country, I choose the general interest of the country", affirmed the head of state". "If it is necessary behind to endorse the unpopularity today, I will endorse it".
"When the United States of America experienced what they experienced on Capitol Hill, when Brazil experienced what it experienced (...), I tell you very clearly", "we cannot accept neither the rebels nor the factions", assured the president.
Legitimacy of trade unions
Emmanuel Macron affirmed to "respect" the unions which "have legitimacy when they march, when they demonstrate" but regretted that the latter did not present a "compromise proposal" on the text of the reform. He says he is ready to "re-engage" a dialogue with them on working conditions to hear "this need for justice" expressed in the street.
Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne "has my confidence to lead this government team", declared the Head of State. He added that he had asked him "to build a legislative program, a government program (...) to have both fewer legal texts, shorter, clearer texts, to also change things for our compatriots in a more tangible". He also asked him to "expand the majority", without further details.
"The project of all the oppositions is the deficit", "there is no alternative majority", he hammered.
"There is still a bit of cynicism at work, when you have large companies that make such exceptional income that they end up using this money to buy back their own shares," said the head of the State. He intends to "ask the government to work on an exceptional contribution".
The immigration bill will be "cut" into "shorter texts" which will be examined "in the coming weeks" by Parliament.