Unusually for a French leader, Macron acknowledged that someone’s “address, name, color of skin” can reduce their chances at succeeding in French society, and called for a fight to ensure that everyone can “find their place” regardless of ethnic origin or religion. He promised to be “uncompromising in the face of racism, anti-Semitism and discrimination.”

However, he insisted that France will not take down statues of controversial, colonial-era figures as has happened in some other countries in recent weeks.

Amid calls for taking down statues tied to France’s slave trade or colonial wrongs, Macron said “the republic will not erase any trace, or any name, from its history … it will not take down any statue.”

“We should look at all of our history together” including relations with Africa, with a goal of “truth” instead of “denying who we are,” Macron said.