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Xavier Bertrand, governor of the Hauts-de-France region, which includes Calais, attacked the French President during an interview with radio channel BFMTV-RMC on Thursday morning. He discussed the young president’s performance as France is hit by one problem after the next.
He touched on the violence which has blighted the streets of France this summer as the coronavirus pandemic raged.
His interview came hours after a shocking video surfaced on social media understood to show heavily armed drug dealers in Grenoble.
He said: “We saw the blaze of the summer, it’s a clockwork orange summer with nonsense violence that has left a deep mark on us.
“We have no choice, we absolutely have to break this spiral of violence which dates to only a few weeks ago.
“It is a deep drift, it is a crisis of respect for authority, we have too many individuals who have a feeling of impunity in our country.”
When asked if he thought Mr Macron lacks authority, he answered without hesitation: “Yes”.
Mr Bertrand added: “On these questions, he is not aware of what is happening in the country.
“He has a problem not only with the authority, but with these questions.”
He suggested the French leader should “change penal policies now.”
Mr Bertrand went on to warn of catastrophic consequences for France if Mr Macron’s Government did not get a grip on the unrest.
The former minister said: “There is fear, there is withdrawal, and there will be, if you are not careful, self-defence; that’s the end of the Republic, it’s the end of the State and it is the end of what makes a nation.”
A recent poll showed damaging results over Mr Macron’s response to the COVID-19 epidemic.
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Four in 10 (41 percent) respondents said they disapproved or strongly disapproved of the way he handled the public health crisis.
Only 31 percent supported his course of action to suppress the pandemic, according to the survey.
Last year Mr Macron was heavily criticised for his response to the yellow vests protesters.
And this year he has faced fresh problems with the coronavirus crisis and the looming Brexit deadline.
Britain’s Brexit transition period is due to end on December 31 and a free trade deal has yet to be agreed.
While both the EU and the UK agree that any agreement would have to be signed by October, the two sides do not see eye-to-eye on much else.
The issue is of particular concern for Mr Macron, as French fishermen fear losing access to Britain’s rich fishing waters and goods being transport via the Dover-Calais route could be disrupted.
Earlier this summer, France’s Europe minister Clément Beaune warned the French “will not be intimidated” during negotiations.
He vowed his country would continue to take a strong stance to defend its interests.
He added: “I will say one thing very simply: we will not accept a deal at any price because this is not in the interests of France or Europe.”
Additional reporting by Maria Ortega.
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