4 Feb 2019

Macron blames monopolies for high cost of living in French territories

8:12 am on 4 February 2019

The French president Emmanuel Macron has blamed monopolies as well as pay boosts for public servants for the high cost of living in French overseas territories.

French president Emmanuel Macron

Emmanuel Macron Photo: AFP

Mr Macron made the comment at a public meeting with overseas mayors as part of a series of nationwide debates to counter the yellow vest protest movement.

The gathering didn't include representatives from French Polynesia, Wallis and Futuna or New Caledonia as these territories' status gives them more powers to run economic policy.

He admitted that the cost of living is high for those who don't get the indexed pay boost, which in some territories amount to more than 50 percent.

Mr Macron noted that for example the same vehicle can cost substantially more in an overseas territory, with someone pocketing the difference.

His party had campaigned on leaving the system untouched, but he says the system with the pay boosts might be phased out over a decade.

In French Polynesia and New Caledonia, French public service employees get double pay.

In New Caledonia, the high cost of living has been a recurring point of public concern.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs