French President Emmanuel Macron Monday pledged nearly $17 billion in new funding for environmental programs one day after his party was soundly defeated in local elections across France.
At a news conference with Citizens' Climate Council in Paris, Macron said he would move faster on environment-friendly policymaking and that he was ready to call a referendum on revising the constitution to include climate aims if parliament allowed it.
Macron was responding to the climate council’s environmental propositions as France's Green party — officially known as Europe Ecology - The Greens (EELV) — stunned Macron and France in Sunday's vote when it won control of large cities including Lyon, Bordeaux and Strasbourg, often in alliance with leftist allies.
The Greens' victories in towns and cities put Macron under pressure to act on the environment.
While supporting many of their proposals, Macron told the climate council he disagreed with its call for a four percent tax on dividends to help finance new greener policies, saying such a levy would discourage investments.
He said a bill will be drafted and presented to lawmakers by the end of the summer to advance France's ecological transition goals.
Macron's ruling party emerged from Sunday’s elections without a single victory in a big city, an outcome that leaves the president without a local power base as he eyes a re-election bid in 2022.
Macron set up the Citizens' Climate Council in the wake of "yellow vest" protests, which erupted over an increase in diesel taxes but turned into a wider rebellion against the president and his pro-business reform agenda.