France’s newly-installed Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has used his first address to Parliament to make a subtle rebuke at President Donald Trump, saying that anybody who refused to sign the Paris climate agreement was not only selfish but “scared of the future.”
In outlining his government’s reform agenda Tuesday, the 46-year-old lawyer turned politician reiterated France’s commitment to tackling climate change under the United Nations framework. He insisted that dissidents of the deal were ignorant of the environmental challenges that lie ahead.
“Those who, through selfishness or a lack of conscience, turn their backs on the Paris climate change agreement, show more than just a simple misunderstanding of the world that is coming. It shows that at the heart of things, they are scared of the future,” Philippe told the French National Assembly in Paris.
In June, President Trump withdrew from the Paris agreement, attracting widespread consternation from signatories in Europe and Asia, as well as individual U.S. states.
“The ostrich is without doubt a nice animal, but putting your head in the sand has never prepared a person to face the future,” Philippe continued, as he announced a number of measures to combat greenhouse gas emissions, including hiking diesel taxes in line with petrol.
The prime minister did, however, give an apparent nod to one of Trump’s other reform policies by announcing new measures to retain French businesses in much the same way Trump pledged to revive the U.S. corporate sector.
“Companies must want to set themselves up and develop on our soil rather than elsewhere,” Philippe said.
He added that his government would cut corporation tax from 33.3 percent to 25 percent by 2022, while dramatically cutting unemployment.