On the tour that took him to Elysium, Amiens is for Emmanuel Macron more than your homeland. During the election campaign, the town of the French Picardy with one of the most beautiful Gothic cathedrals in the Hexagon and about 130,000 inhabitants, was the ring of its first pulse with Marine Le Pen.
The ultra-right leader He caught his rival with the changed pace by visiting Whirlpool's striking workers by surprise while Macron met with the unions in the Chamber of Commerce. Pissed off by the goal, Macron risked and appeared between boos before the strikers in a parking lot dotted with burning tires where endured a long face to face.
The then candidate promised to return if he was elected president. He did it in October 2017, when Whirlpool, which had moved its activity to Poland, was acquired by WN, a Picardy firm that received grants from the French State.
And he has returned for the third time this Friday, three months after WN presented its liquidation due to lack of commercial exit leaving in the street 182 people. This time there were no burning wheels, but sparks jumped in the room.
"I have a feeling that the purchase was a mount Between you, Whirlpool and a corrupt buyer. You said it was a viable project, "the CFDT union delegate Patrice Sinoquet reproached him.
"Enough of paranoia! The buyer was not a colleague of mine. We help him because if you hadn't reproached me. Everything was checked, and in case of fraud he will be tried and convicted, "the president replied during a tense talk with the workers, who complained of being scammed.
The visit to the former employees of Whirlpool was undoubtedly the riskiest stage of the two days that Macron has spent in Amiens alternating sources of conflict with mass baths. A shift to which he has dedicated time to achieve two goals.
The first, to break the image of a president disconnected from the land and claim as a man of provinces Four months after the municipal elections. The second, try to deactivate the time bomb that has been launched with the indefinite strike next December 5th.
Convened by the unions in protest of the pension reform, the Government fears a black day that catalyzes the social discontent of different groups that have been adding to the appeal, from transport, to hospitals, through teachers, police, yellow vests and students.
To prevent the latter from joining the protest, Macron was this Thursday in Amiens with a group of youngsters during the inauguration of the new building of the University of Picardy designed by Renzo Piano.
They received it in silence, with some skepticism and asked directly for the budget, scholarships and lack of expectations. The president was responding one by one to the discreet presence of his father, Jean-Michel Macron, professor of Medicine at the University of Picardy, and referred for the first time to the young man of Lyon who burned well on November 8 to denounce student precariousness.
"Acts like this always have an unfathomable part, but their suffering reminds us of the difficulties of student life," said Macron, who also lamented the pessimism of the French. "You have the impression, if you listen to the radio or turn on the TV, that everything is terrible. Right now, our country is, I think too negative about itself, "he told the students. This Friday, in a popular neighborhood in northern Amiens he was greeted with more warmth.