French President Emmanuel Macron sparked fury among political rivals last week after using a rude, slang expression to describe how he’d like to motivate citizens to get vaccinated as the implementation of harsh vaccine restrictions loom.
“The unvaccinated, I really want to p*ss them off. And so, we’re going to continue doing so, until the end. That’s the strategy,” he told the French newspaper Le Parisien, as translated and reported by Reuters.
The expression he used, “emmerder” which comes from a French cuss word, could also be translated to “get on their nerves” and is very informal and slangy, according to Reuters.
His plan to “emmerder” the unvaccinated, he explained, is to apply pressure to force those who still have not gotten the COVID-19 jab out of a huge portion of public life in France.
“I won’t send (the unvaccinated) to prison, I won’t vaccinate by force. So we need to tell them, from Jan. 15, you won’t be able to go to the restaurant anymore, you won’t be able to down one, won’t be able to have a coffee, go to the theatre, the cinema…”
Reuters notes that France currently requires a negative PCR test or proof of vaccination to enter eateries and other public places.
On Thursday, however, the French government passed legislation that turns the pre-existing health pass into a vaccine pass, under which those over the age of 12 will be required to show the pass verifying vaccine status to visit restaurants, cultural venues, and interregional transport, as France 24 reported.
This came amid outcry over Macron’s comments, which were published on Tuesday.
“A president shouldn’t say that,” French opposition leader Marine Le Pen wrote in response to the president’s comments. “Emmanuel Macron is unworthy of his office.”
Macron is up for re-election in April, although he has not made it clear if he is running.
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