I want to 'piss off' the unvaccinated: Macron

French President Emmanuel Macron says he wants to "piss off" unvaccinated people.

His comments, published in Le Parisien newspaper late on Tuesday, angered opposition lawmakers, who forced the suspension of a parliamentary debate on a new COVID law on Wednesday (January 5) and demanded an explanation.

Macron is expected to stand for president again in an April election. He probably calculated that enough people are vaccinated - and upset with those who aren't - for his comments to go down well with voters.

Nearly 90% of French aged 12 and over are vaccinated.

"The unvaccinated," Macron said, "I really want to piss them off. And so, we're going to continue doing so until the end. That's the strategy."

Macron also called them "irresponsible" and said he planned to make their lives so complicated that they'd end up getting the shot.

The draft bill up for discussion will make it mandatory for people to show proof of vaccination to enter a restaurant or cinema, or take the train.

France has historically had more vaccine skeptics than many of its neighbors, and pandemic restrictions have triggered many street protests.

However, it now has one of the highest vaccination rates in the European Union.

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