French President Emmanuel Macron has faced severe backlash over his comment during an official visit to Denmark, where he complained that his labor reforms have largely been impeded by the "Gauls," who are not exactly keen on change, the BBC reported. He further compared them with the Danes, who in his eyes are more open-minded due to their Lutheran background.
"What is possible is linked to a culture, a people marked by their own history. These Lutheran [Danish] people, who have lived through the transformations of recent years, are not exactly Gauls who are resistant to change," he said.
Alexis Corbière, a member of the French parliament, called Macron's comments foolish, noting that the "Gauls" were actually "formidable inventors." Leader of the right-wing National Rally Marine Le Pen scolded the French president for his words of "contempt" towards his own people and promised that the "Gauls" would respond to the insult. Republican MP Fabien Di Filippo joined in accusing Macron of having insulted the French people and added that he "has outdone himself in Denmark."
Macron's spokesman responded to the accusations by saying that the president was meant to sound "humorous" and added that he was referring to opposition parties when he spoke about the Gauls.
This is not the first time the French president complains about his troubles in pushing reforms in his country. During his visit to Romania, he said that France was "not reformable" and that the "French hate reforms."
Macron's economic reforms have faced opposition not only from political adversaries but also from the French citizenry, who have taken to the streets multiple times over the course of the last year to express their dissatisfaction.