May 14, 2017 / 10:03 AM / 6 months ago

France's Macron pledges to overcome division in society

PARIS (Reuters) - New French President Emmanuel Macron, in his inaugural address, pledged on Sunday to work to overcome divisions in society which had been shown by the presidential election campaign and seek to build a strong France that was sure of itself in the world.

French President Emmanuel Macron delivers a speech during his inauguration at the handover ceremony at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, May 14, 2017. REUTERS/Francois Mori/Pool

“The division and fractures in our society must be overcome,” said the 39-year-old centrist who was elected on May 7 after beating the far right leader Marine Le Pen following a bitter campaign that was dominated by France’s role in Europe and which blew apart the traditional party structure in France.

“The world and Europe need more than ever France, and a strong France, which speaks out loudly for freedom and solidarity,” Macron declared.

He said under his administration the labor market would be made more flexible, business-friendly conditions would be created to help companies function and “innovation” would be at the heart of his action as president.

Reporting by Mathieu Rosemain; Writing By Richard Balmforth; Editing by John irisdh

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