Taxis against VTC. This season seems far away but this showdown is one of the highlights of François Hollande’s five -year term on the economic side. Within months, the French discovered how far a regulated profession such as taxis could be caught up with the arrival of a new entrant, Uber, which is excited to impose market deregulation. . To achieve this, they relied on the kindness of the then Minister of Economy, an Emmanuel Macron, with whom the company’s leaders established constant contact.
This was revealed in a large leak of internal documents from the American company, processed by our colleagues from Le Monde and France Info, who did not hesitate to speak about a “deal”, the very words used by Uber, between the company and the Minister.
In October 2014, Emmanuel Macron only occupied his Bercy offices for a few weeks. He is part of a government that, to this day, has always been vigilant about Uber. He immediately met with four directors of the American company. They came out happy, Le Monde reported, with access to the reports. “In a word: amazing. Unheard, Mark MacGann wrote one of these. Lots of work to come, but we’ll be dancing soon;)” “Mega top meeting with Emmanuel Macron this morning. France loves us after. all “.
The changes are drafted and delivered turnkey by Uber
According to our colleagues, this meeting marks the beginning of a privileged relationship between Uber and Emmanuel Macron. The daily listed at least 17 direct exchanges (meetings, calls, SMS) in the 18 months after his appointment with Bercy. At the time, the company was heavily criticized for launching the UberPop service, which allowed anyone to become an Uber driver. Documents show that Emmanuel Macron accepted Uber’s cause, advising the company to make changes to hand them over in turnkey to a representative who saw Uber with a good eye. The idea is not that the amendment in question be adopted, but that its proposals enter the public debate so that they can be more easily passed through the mandate.
If the decisions upset Uber leaders, they will systematically turn to the minister. This is especially true when DGCCRF agents show up at Uber France headquarters. This was still true when Laurent Nunez, Marseille’s former police chief, took an order banning Uber in much of the Bouches-du-Rhône department. Mark MacGann, Uber’s chief lobbyist, picked up his phone. “Minister, we are amazed at the prefectural order in Marseille”. Emmanuel Macron promised him to “see it in person”. Three days later, the order fell, even though Laurent Nunez confirmed that the prefecture had acted in such a way after learning that the order was illegal.
A supposed support
The story published by our colleagues from Le Monde evokes an “agreement” between Emmanuel Macron and the American company. It’s a simple one to understand: Macron will propose a “drastic” simplification of the conditions required to obtain a VTC license in exchange for suspending the UberPop service. If Uber denies the existence of an agreement concluded by the current President of the Republic, some exchanges have even made explicit mention of it. This was the case on July 3, 2015 during the exchange of Travis Kalanick and Emmanuel Macron. “Can we trust caz (Bernard Cazeneuve, the Prime Minister at the time) ? wrote Travis Kalanick. “We had a meeting yesterday with the Prime Minister,” Emmanuel Macron replied. [Bernard] Cazeneuve will make sure taxis stay calm and I will take everyone next week to prepare for reform and fix the law. Caz accepted the deal. When are you in Paris? »
Three days later, Uber deactivated its UberPop service. Contacted by Le Monde, the Elysée reacted by confirming that Emmanuel Macron was only occupying his classic duties as minister. At the time, the minister also expressed his support for Uber. “We see this in the example offered by Uber in the Paris region: people who are frequent victims of embezzlement have chosen individual entrepreneurship because for many young people today, it is easier to find a customer than to find an employer, “he said in an interview with Le Monde.
Asked about the dangers of an economic uberization, Emmanuel Macron then thought: “Our option is to open up our economy and make more social action.»