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Requirements for the investigation into Macron’s relationship with the American company Uber

On October 1, 2014, just five weeks after Emmanuel Macron took office as finance minister, he met Uber founder Travis Kalanick and other company executives at the French Ministry of Finance. The meeting was not mentioned in the official agenda.

The American company was struggling to survive in France. On the same day, a new law effectively banned the Uber Pop taxi service, allowing anyone to work overtime as a taxi driver in their own car.

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, at the 2015 conference.

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, at the 2015 conference.

Photo: Tobias Hase/TT

But the new Minister of Economic Affairs had a different stance from the rest of the socialist government.

“Massive summit meeting with Emmanuel Macron this morning. France loves us after all,” an Uber lobbyist exclaimed after the meeting, in one of several emails and text messages now leaked to The Guardian, shared by the newspaper. the scientist and the Journalists’ Network ICIJ.

Macron became the most important Uber company Allies in the government – at the same time that French taxi drivers protested in the streets and squares against the company’s business model and working conditions. On the other hand, the Minister of the Interior and Transport Bernard Cazeneuve took a hard line and the police raided the company.

According to the leaked emails, Macron gradually reached a compromise – a secret “agreement” in which the Uber Pop service in France was canceled in exchange for reducing the number of hours required for driver training from 250 to seven. And so Uber was able to keep its UberX service (with trained drivers) – and the company saw that as a victory.

Taxi drivers participate in demonstrations linked to an official strike in 2016. Cutbacks, conditions, and competition by Uber have led to widespread protests and sometimes vandalism of Uber cars.

Taxi drivers participate in demonstrations linked to an official strike in 2016. Cutbacks, conditions, and competition by Uber have led to widespread protests and sometimes vandalism of Uber cars.

Photo: Eric Weverberg/AFP

What did Macron get in return?The opposition asks. And were any crimes committed when he acted to help Uber in a case that was not really on his desk, but on that of the Secretary of Transportation?

– That’s too dangerous. The president cannot be a lobbyist for private US business interests that don’t respect current rules, says Representative Alexis Corbier, of the left-wing Nobis coalition who is now calling for a parliamentary inquiry.

Macron’s allies rejected accusations of cabinet rule. They remember that early on he saw the “sharing economy” – and companies like Uber – as an important way to suppress unemployment in poor, immigrant suburbs. In Macron’s presidential campaign, the vision of making France an “emerging country”, open to new ideas and technologies, was a major and completely open theme.

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