France election: Key quotes from Macron's press conference

French President Macron gives a press conference after calling snap parliamentary election

PARIS (Reuters) -President Emmanuel Macron defended on Wednesday his shock call for a snap election after the far right's strong showing in last weekend's European vote.

Here are some key quotes from his press conference:

MACRON ON THE EUROPEAN ELECTION FALLOUT:

"The votes cast (in the European election) put the far-right forces at almost 40% and the extremes (on the right and left) at almost 50%. This is a political fact that cannot be ignored.

"The dissolution of the National Assembly would be a test of truth between those who choose to strengthen their own hand and those who chose to strengthen the hand of France."

MACRON TO VOTERS WHO CAST A BALLOT FOR THE FAR RIGHT:

"You've expressed anger, message received. But is an expression of anger the answer to your daily life? I say no.

"(The National Rally) is a political project that won't be able to respond to the insecurity you experience ... What's the concrete answer? They don't have one."

MACRON ON RESIGNATION TALK:

"I want to nip that one in the bud, it never existed."

MACRON ON ALLIANCE BUILDING:

Macron said that parties on the left and right are “building political entities, but by no means majorities to govern”.

"Do we think that (Republicans party leader) Mr. Ciotti - and The Republicans who follow him - who up until now explained that the ruling majority was too lax and that we needed to rein in our public spending faster, would govern effectively with the (far-right) National Rally, whose program has been independently costed at about 100 billion euros a year for our taxpayers?"

MACRON ON VALUES OF THE REPUBLIC

"We must, first and foremost, continue relentlessly to act for greater security and (state) firmness, and implement the laws that have been passed, like our European texts, to reduce illegal immigration."

"(We need) to launch a great debate on secularism in France."

"(We need) to take simple, everyday decisions such as enabling the state to regain control on the issue of unaccompanied minors, who are a security problem in so many towns; respond more firmly to the rise in juvenile violence...; and respond to the existing feeling of impunity with a justice system whose resources have been increased, but which must now also respond with faster, safer, clearer sentences."

MACRON ON PENSION REFORM:

"Pensions will be indexed to inflation. The purchasing power of pensioners is not an adjustment variable for us.

"What are the others proposing? To go back on the pension reform, in other words, to first of all do away with what has been done for the most modest pensioners, but above all to bankrupt the pension system."

MACRON ON NEW CALEDONIA:

"The constitutional project to reform electoral rules in New Caledonia is suspended."

(Editing by Richard Lough)