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French presidential candidates debate key election issues - live! French presidential candidates debate key election issues - live!
(35 minutes later)
11.01pm GMT
23:01
Macron says he is the only candidate who has pledged to fulfil France’s responsibilities to Europe. He says the French people will give him a mandate to defend France’s economic independence and its security.
He says France’s place is at the heart of Europe, working with Europe. Le Pen snorts. “You have said nothing,” Le Pen says. “You have talked for seven minutes and said nothing.”
Macron efficient by taking on Le Pen on foreign policy :"I want France's independence within Europe." #FrenchPresidentialDebate
Updated
at 11.02pm GMT
10.51pm GMT
22:51
France's place in the world
The final stage of the debate: foreign policy.
Hamon says France should always be capable and willing to intervene militarily abroad in defence of international law. He says Trump and Russia’s ambitions have changed everything: less America (on the world stage) should lead to more Europe, he says.
Le Pen says no one should decide for France. “I don’t want to force our soldiers to fight in wars that we have not decided,” she says. The French army is in a parlous state, she says, and defence spending must be raised to 3% of GDP by the end of the next presidency.
Fillon says that’s ridiculous: completely unaffordable.
Mélenchon says the world has become a dangerous place. He wants to be a president of peace, he says. No war, but negotiations ...
10.43pm GMT
22:43
Le Pen has spoken longer and louder than everyone else ...
Le Pen comes off as angry and incoherent, on health and pensions. But maybe it works for her electorate. #LeGrandDebat
10.39pm GMT
22:39
Healthcare
Another lengthy and detailed discussion.
Mélenchon says everyone should be reimbursed in full for all their healthcare expenses: “We know how to fund that, it’s not complicated.”
Fillon says the system has to be “debureaucratised” and GPs need to be at the heart of the system. They need to be paid properly, to be able to work in teams. Hospitals need to be more independent.
Macron also wants healthcare professionals to have more autonomy.
Le Pen says France has to cut waste in its healthcare system. As a mother of three, she says, she could have started a pharmacy ...
UK observers should note the amount of time healthcare, pensions and employment issues are taking up in the French presidential debate
10.30pm GMT
22:30
There is a lengthy debate on the age of retirement ...
Fillon proposes raising the retirement age to 65.
Macron says he will reform the pension system from top to bottom. It is unclear and confusing and unfair, he says. One euro paid into the system should be worth one euro at retirement age, he says.
10.25pm GMT10.25pm GMT
22:2522:25
Tweet of the night so far: “As president of the Republic, I would shorten presidential debates.”Tweet of the night so far: “As president of the Republic, I would shorten presidential debates.”
Moi, président de la République, je raccourcirai les débats télévisés #DebatTF1Moi, président de la République, je raccourcirai les débats télévisés #DebatTF1
10.19pm GMT10.19pm GMT
22:1922:19
Le Pen says Brexit is a huge success and the UK’s results are “formidable”. Everyone knows what I think of Europe and the euro, she says.Le Pen says Brexit is a huge success and the UK’s results are “formidable”. Everyone knows what I think of Europe and the euro, she says.
The other candidates laugh ...The other candidates laugh ...
In tonight's presidential debate, Ms Le Pen describes Brexit as spectacular success: "les résultats du Brexit sont formidables." https://t.co/PFc9CKGNlF
hahahahaha Le Pen just mentioned Brexit and everyone in the room booed, hello there from French people in Londonhahahahaha Le Pen just mentioned Brexit and everyone in the room booed, hello there from French people in London
UpdatedUpdated
at 10.20pm GMT at 10.51pm GMT
10.15pm GMT10.15pm GMT
22:1522:15
Le Pen’s ideas on the economy are not entirely coherent, according to some:Le Pen’s ideas on the economy are not entirely coherent, according to some:
Le Pen completely incoherent on economics. No figures. No specifics. Nothing. Very Trumplike. Will her voters care, though? #LeGrandDébatLe Pen completely incoherent on economics. No figures. No specifics. Nothing. Very Trumplike. Will her voters care, though? #LeGrandDébat
Fillon accuses Le Pen of leading France “towards social and economic chaos”.Fillon accuses Le Pen of leading France “towards social and economic chaos”.
French rightwing candidate @FrancoisFillon accuses @MLP_officiel of leading France "towards social and economic chaos" in TV debate @AFP pic.twitter.com/VoY23PDOh5French rightwing candidate @FrancoisFillon accuses @MLP_officiel of leading France "towards social and economic chaos" in TV debate @AFP pic.twitter.com/VoY23PDOh5
UpdatedUpdated
at 10.25pm GMTat 10.25pm GMT
10.12pm GMT10.12pm GMT
22:1222:12
Taxes: are they too high?Taxes: are they too high?
Hamon says the only new idea in the campaign is his: a universal basic income.Hamon says the only new idea in the campaign is his: a universal basic income.
Fillon says France’s neighbours have not cut the working week and are doing better than France. Investment is key, he says. He is determined to raise purchasing power.Fillon says France’s neighbours have not cut the working week and are doing better than France. Investment is key, he says. He is determined to raise purchasing power.
Macron says investment has to be increased and the social security charges companies pay have to be reduced. He says he will abolish property tax, paid by 85% of French citizens.Macron says investment has to be increased and the social security charges companies pay have to be reduced. He says he will abolish property tax, paid by 85% of French citizens.
Fillon accuses him of being “a little bit left, a little bit right” – Macron replies that his policies are “effective, and fair”.Fillon accuses him of being “a little bit left, a little bit right” – Macron replies that his policies are “effective, and fair”.
Wow! Macron says he will abolish property tax on all home owners which brings in €10 bn a year. Big bribe to middle France as 85% pay taxWow! Macron says he will abolish property tax on all home owners which brings in €10 bn a year. Big bribe to middle France as 85% pay tax
UpdatedUpdated
at 10.17pm GMTat 10.17pm GMT
10.05pm GMT10.05pm GMT
22:0522:05
Le Pen says she does not want to enter into “a debate among ultra-liberals”. That model has shown its shortcomings, she says, it has “ruined our agriculture, ruined our industry”.Le Pen says she does not want to enter into “a debate among ultra-liberals”. That model has shown its shortcomings, she says, it has “ruined our agriculture, ruined our industry”.
France needs “economic patriotism” she says; the state must encourage French businesses, not foreign businesses. The EU encourages unfair competition and French industry pays the price.France needs “economic patriotism” she says; the state must encourage French businesses, not foreign businesses. The EU encourages unfair competition and French industry pays the price.
UpdatedUpdated
at 10.07pm GMTat 10.07pm GMT
10.00pm GMT10.00pm GMT
22:0022:00
Quite a few observers agreeing that Fillon does not seem to be able to make his mark on this debate. “He’s trying, but it’s not getting through”:Quite a few observers agreeing that Fillon does not seem to be able to make his mark on this debate. “He’s trying, but it’s not getting through”:
Fillon n'arrive pas à prendre la parole. Ni face à Mélenchon ni face à Macron... Il essaie mais ça ne passe pas #DebatTF1Fillon n'arrive pas à prendre la parole. Ni face à Mélenchon ni face à Macron... Il essaie mais ça ne passe pas #DebatTF1
9.57pm GMT9.57pm GMT
21:5721:57
A trace of irony:A trace of irony:
Mélenchon has a good plan to reduce unemployment: "You create 300,000 jobs here, 300,000 jobs there..." #Nobel #FrenchPresidentialDebateMélenchon has a good plan to reduce unemployment: "You create 300,000 jobs here, 300,000 jobs there..." #Nobel #FrenchPresidentialDebate
9.56pm GMT9.56pm GMT
21:5621:56
#presidential2017 #legranddebat Hamon says firms must look at "stress, anxiety, length of service and burn-out" + organise work differently#presidential2017 #legranddebat Hamon says firms must look at "stress, anxiety, length of service and burn-out" + organise work differently
9.55pm GMT9.55pm GMT
21:5521:55
The economyThe economy
Unemployment is a major and stubborn problem in France. What’s the solution?Unemployment is a major and stubborn problem in France. What’s the solution?
Fillon says countries around France have managed full employment. So why haven’t we? Employees must be able to negotiate hours with employers on a company-by-company basis, he says: “Give companies the freedom ... to organise themselves.”Fillon says countries around France have managed full employment. So why haven’t we? Employees must be able to negotiate hours with employers on a company-by-company basis, he says: “Give companies the freedom ... to organise themselves.”
Macron says he is not suggesting abolishing France’s 35-hour week. He says the law should set the framework and principles, but companies and industrial sectors should be able to decide. And he wants a cut in corporation tax.Macron says he is not suggesting abolishing France’s 35-hour week. He says the law should set the framework and principles, but companies and industrial sectors should be able to decide. And he wants a cut in corporation tax.
Hamon says we need to take account now of the impact of automation. “I will be the candidate of a decent wage,” he says, and in an increase in the minimum wage.Hamon says we need to take account now of the impact of automation. “I will be the candidate of a decent wage,” he says, and in an increase in the minimum wage.
Mélenchon says he is interesting in creating jobs by filling company order books; he will invest €100bn in future technologies.Mélenchon says he is interesting in creating jobs by filling company order books; he will invest €100bn in future technologies.
9.44pm GMT9.44pm GMT
21:4421:44
Xavier Frison from Marianne magazine says Fillon is effectively absent from the debate, “inaudible, the big loser of the evening so far”:Xavier Frison from Marianne magazine says Fillon is effectively absent from the debate, “inaudible, the big loser of the evening so far”:
Point d'étape : #Fillon, l'air absent, inaudible, le grand perdant de la soirée pour le moment. #LeGrandDebatPoint d'étape : #Fillon, l'air absent, inaudible, le grand perdant de la soirée pour le moment. #LeGrandDebat
9.42pm GMT9.42pm GMT
21:4221:42
A break ...A break ...
We’ve taken a break, I presume a commercial one ...We’ve taken a break, I presume a commercial one ...
A few instant reactions: Le Figaro’s London correspondent reckons it isn’t everyone against Macron but everyone against Le Pen. Hamon and Le Pen are gunning for Macron, Fillon is reserved and Mélenchon is almost “acting as referee”:A few instant reactions: Le Figaro’s London correspondent reckons it isn’t everyone against Macron but everyone against Le Pen. Hamon and Le Pen are gunning for Macron, Fillon is reserved and Mélenchon is almost “acting as referee”:
#LeGrandDebat devait être tous contre Macron. En fait c'est ts contre Le Pen, Hamon et MLP contre Macron, Fillon discret, Mélenchon arbitre.#LeGrandDebat devait être tous contre Macron. En fait c'est ts contre Le Pen, Hamon et MLP contre Macron, Fillon discret, Mélenchon arbitre.
9.36pm GMT9.36pm GMT
21:3621:36
Energy, nuclear power, environmentEnergy, nuclear power, environment
Hamon says France should close its old nuclear reactors and invest more in wind power.Hamon says France should close its old nuclear reactors and invest more in wind power.
Fillon says France’s nuclear industry must be safe.Fillon says France’s nuclear industry must be safe.
Macron says he wants a 50-50 split between nuclear and renewable by 20150. He says clean air is critical: diesel cars should no longer get tax breaks; one million homes should be made more energy-efficient.Macron says he wants a 50-50 split between nuclear and renewable by 20150. He says clean air is critical: diesel cars should no longer get tax breaks; one million homes should be made more energy-efficient.
Le Pen says the freetrade, “ultra-liberal model” is intrinsically bad for the environment because it encourages production on the other side of the globe. She defends diesel, says French drivers who were encouraged to buy them should not be penalised.Le Pen says the freetrade, “ultra-liberal model” is intrinsically bad for the environment because it encourages production on the other side of the globe. She defends diesel, says French drivers who were encouraged to buy them should not be penalised.
UpdatedUpdated
at 9.46pm GMTat 9.46pm GMT
9.31pm GMT9.31pm GMT
21:3121:31
Morality in public lifeMorality in public life
Asked how to restore a sense of morality in public life – with several of the participants embroiled in assorted judicial and other inquiries:Asked how to restore a sense of morality in public life – with several of the participants embroiled in assorted judicial and other inquiries:
Fillon says he will set up a commission should be set up to improve transparency and guarantee good conduct.Fillon says he will set up a commission should be set up to improve transparency and guarantee good conduct.
Macron says conflicts of interests must be abolished as far as humanly possible; all relations with lobbyists must be disclosed; MPs’ pay must be made completely transparent; the rules must be clear.Macron says conflicts of interests must be abolished as far as humanly possible; all relations with lobbyists must be disclosed; MPs’ pay must be made completely transparent; the rules must be clear.
Mélenchon says MPs should not be able to do consultancy work, and hiring family members – common practice in France – should be banned.Mélenchon says MPs should not be able to do consultancy work, and hiring family members – common practice in France – should be banned.
Le Pen says the campaign has helped French voters realise that some candidates are defending the interests of major groups rather than of the French people. She has a dig at Macron here, a former banker: “Private interests have invited themselves into this campaign.”Le Pen says the campaign has helped French voters realise that some candidates are defending the interests of major groups rather than of the French people. She has a dig at Macron here, a former banker: “Private interests have invited themselves into this campaign.”
Macron comes close to accusing her of defamation, saying she has accused him of a conflict of interest – if she believes that, she should file a formal complaint, he says, or keep her silence.Macron comes close to accusing her of defamation, saying she has accused him of a conflict of interest – if she believes that, she should file a formal complaint, he says, or keep her silence.