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News: Sébastien Mittelberger (LeMap): Will climate change permanently modify the nature of political debate?
Francois Hollande : It should be! Because if this change is not anticipated, it will be difficult for our fellow citizens. We are already seeing this with the rise in the price of energy and not just fuel. It will become more pronounced if we do not prepare other forms of consumption, if we do not reconvert a certain number of industries. If we do not compensate for the French and not only the most modest the cost that this change will generate, there will be a crisis which will not be simply climatic, but also social.
SM (LeMap): In your book you talk about the myths of the left. Do you think that these myths are partly responsible for the impossibility for the left to have emerge a single candidate for the next presidential election?
FH : Yes ! I think that the fact, for environmentalists, of proposing to phase out nuclear power when our country must achieve carbon neutrality in 2030 takes them away from the credibility essential to the exercise of responsibilities. Likewise, claiming to cancel the public debt is an illusion. Like claiming to break with globalization or changing Europe with the wave of a magic wand. These mirages stirred up by a number of candidates explain the difficulties in bringing the left together, because to govern France you have to have a common program.
I regret that this right-wing primary gave rise to a security escalation. “
SM (LeMap): How do you see the primary on the right?
FH : The right has brought out with Valérie Pécresse a unique candidacy for the presidential election. I nevertheless regret that this primary has given rise to a security escalation and with proposals which are both unfounded in terms of constitutional law and dangerous in terms of social cohesion, since it is a question of lowering all guarantees workers, abolish the 35-hour week, raise the retirement age to 65, abolish production taxes and establish a single rate for income tax.
SM (LeMap): Emmanuel Macron having generally siphoned off the moderate electorate on the left as well as on the right, don’t you think that this contributes to leaving an important part of the political spectrum to very radical currents, whether they are on the left? or right?
FH : Yes. Emmanuel Macron, by his position as President of the Republic necessarily has legitimacy and it is he who can represent for certain voters, rightly or wrongly, a useful vote. So it is indeed on moderate, serious and credible positions that the left as the right must reconstitute, and in no case by making the choice of the radicalism.
SM (LeMap): To date, Éric Zemmour seems to be a sure leader of the upcoming presidential campaign. Do you think that he holds a real current of thought and which can make date, in particular during the next legislative elections. Will he be a luxury sales rep for Marine Le Pen?
FH : Éric Zemmour represents a very old school of thought which has its origins in Charles Maurras or Maurice Barrès, who wanted to question the principles of the Republic. That Éric Zemmour could have declared that he had doubts about the innocence of Alfred Dreyfus and that he could find favors for Marshal Pétain finally signs this ideological inclination. The direct consequence of his words is that he managed to trivialize Ms. Le Pen.
SM (LeMap): In your book, you talk about the roots of “degagism”. Don’t you think that this is very temporary and that once Emmanuel Macron withdraws, I think of 2027, the political spectrum would resume its original form within the framework of a permanence of things with a right and a republican left found? ?
FH : It’s not so sure. Some may think that it is enough to wait. However, it is up to the parties of the right and the left to reconstitute themselves, to rethink their programs, to renew their leaders and above all to assert an understanding and a vision of the country.
After decreeing whatever it takes, degrading public accounts, causing unbearable debt, it is austerity that will soon be on the agenda. “
SM: Hasn’t the health crisis we are going through shown that the social democratic model is the right one?
FH : Yes. It’s the good one. What did the most liberal governments do when the crisis hit? They went to look for the old recipes of social democracy. Those which they considered yesterday to be exhausted. The assertion of the State, the return of planning, the need for present and efficient public services, solidarity through redistribution. But this conversion has only a short time.
After decreeing whatever it takes, degrading public accounts, causing unbearable debt, austerity will soon be on the agenda.
This is why I believe that social democracy is the best political formula to initiate climate change while renewing our industry and finding new forms of redistribution to appease the country.
SM (LeMap): Is the health crisis a brake on the neoliberal model and globalization?
FH : This idea that the state must retract, public spending cut, corporate taxes cut will not last long. In the same way that it is very difficult for sovereignists and nationalists of all stripes to explain that, faced with a health crisis, it suffices to block the borders so that viruses no longer pass.
SM (LeMap): In your book you write that the socialist promise remains. Is the Socialist Party still this solid and timeless beacon?
FH : The Socialist Party must find the path to hope. He must assert himself, identify himself, place himself on the field of the proposal, and not simply think that the fight must be waged against the outgoing president.
SM (LeMap): Do you think that the environmentalist party still has a future or that the main orientations are already diluted in all the currents of thought of the political parties?
FH : Fortunately, the ecological emergency and climate change are taken up by most political parties, at least in the words.
Awareness is collective. Especially among the younger generations. However, I do not believe that the candidate of the EELV party is able to govern France. To lead our nation, we must be able to deal with all subjects such as security, foreign policy or even defense, but also growth without which nothing is possible.
The left would be wrong to leave the homeland to the extremists. “
SM (LeMap): In your book again, you devote a moment to the nation against nationalism. You mention Bouvines and Valmy. Don’t you think that the health crisis and the management that it has imposed country by country is not a comeback of the nation against other more obscure formats, I am necessarily thinking of Europe?
FH : Europe cannot be an identity. Europe is an extension, a construction, a capacity for action. What forges our identity is the feeling of belonging to a collective framework, the nation, where the elections are held, since that is where our destiny is determined. Each country has a history, made up of successive currents in which each must show what it has contributed. This is the reason why the left would be wrong to leave the homeland to the extremists. It is our heritage and our future.
Interview by Sébastien Mittelberger (LeMap)
Photos: Sébastien Buret (LeMap)
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