Want to protect French? Speak more English, Spanish, Japanese: Macron

The phrase "the French language must be protected" has been the source of much divide in Quebec, but the President of France says it doesn't have to be.

"I never hesitate to express myself either in French or the language of a host country, or in English when on the international scene or before the business community, because I think that strengthens la Francophonie," French President Emmanuel Macron said Monday, alongside Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard after the leaders met in France.

The comments came just moments after Couillard told reporters the worldwide use of French needs to be protected.

Macron, who has been criticized for his use of English during a number of events, said defending French does not mean closing yourself off from the other languages of the world. He added that the goal is to show that French is not an isolated language but is in fact an integral part of multilingualism unlike an "Anglo-Saxon language that wants to consume other languages."

He added that most Francophones around the world should be multilingual.

The Premier echoed the sentiment.

"It has to be understood that the French language must be protected, whether in Quebec or the rest of the world," Couillard said. "We all want for our language to be the official language in practice and we will fight for that to be the case, but that doesn't prevent us from learning another language."

After the pair's hour-long meeting at the Élysée Palace it was announced that Macron will address the Quebec National Assembly during his G7 visit to the province in June.