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‘I want Macron to succeed and win a majority,' says outgoing French finance minister

France's Finance Minister Michel Sapin has said that he wants the newly-elected President Emmanuel Macron to succeed and win a majority in the country's upcoming parliamentary election, though he insisted a cohabitation government would not hamper the country's prospects.

In his first interview since Macron was elected, the outgoing Finance Minister said that Macron could achieve a majority despite stiff competition from right-wing politicians when the country goes to the polls once again for its parliamentary elections on June 11 and 18.

However, he insisted that regardless of outcome, there would be "no blockage" in enacting Macron's major reform agenda.

"The majority takes action and I don't' think there's any contradiction between what a right-wing party working with a left-wing president," Sapin told CNBC in an exclusive interview at the G7 meeting in Bari, Italy.

"The elections will be held and it's possible that the right will have a majority. But in any case, we've already experienced cohabitation twice. It didn't stop things working."

Sapin, who has previously worked alongside Macron, said the new president has "personality" to "make choices, and to ensure they are passed by a majority in the Assembly to meet the desires of the French people."

Economy on a 'sound footing'

Sapin, whose tenure as finance minister has been hampered by high unemployment levels and poor economic growth, said that the French economy was now on a "sound footing" for the incoming government.

"France has a solid base, and the president can take advantage of that," Sapin stated.

"There isn't enough growth yet or enough job creation to bring down unemployment, but the economy is on a sound footing now. Companies have room for manoeuvre and private investment is more dynamic."

However, he admitted that "errors were made" during the party's five-year term which threatened to undermine the euro zone.

"At beginning of our five-year term, the president, the prime minister and the finance minister at the time, Mr Pierre Moscovici, were obsessed by unity in the euro zone, and rightly so. They were facing a crisis that was less visible than the great crisis of 2008. But it could have brought down the euro zone.

"To tackle the crisis, they had to bring down deficit quickly and so they put up taxes, perhaps too sharply. Political effects were felt by many as well as by companies faced with higher taxes."

An open France

Sapin also expressed relief at France's continued membership of the euro currency union, which was to come under threat if presidential hopeful Marine Le Pen has made it into office.

He said that the euro had been instrumental in France's transition from a "small economy" to a "global" one.

"Without the euro, Germany, France and Italy wouldn't be able to manage in an era of globalization."

He added that he and EU finance ministers were working to resolve the problem of a weakened Greece, but said that it continues to have "its place in Europe and in the euro."

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