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Macron speech: "blast" effect or big disappointment?

As a follower of the disruption, Emmanuel Macron will have to outdo himself in order to live up to the expectations he has raised himself. The moment has come to take the consequences of the great debate launched in mid-January in response to the social crisis revealed by the yellow vests. This Monday at 8 pm, the Head of State will present from the Elysee "The first concrete steps" in "Address to the nation". And on Wednesday, he will give a press conference – a first for Macron – to explain in detail about "Priority projects" next three years. "We will not resume the normal course of our lives," had he proclaimed December 10 in a first and solemn "address" to the French marked by the announcement of an envelope of 10 billion euros in favor of purchasing power. Four months later, Macron intends to inaugurate "Act II" of his five-year term.

The executive has set the bar very high. In his speech of restitution of the great debate, the Prime Minister promised measures "Powerful and concrete". Did not Macron write, as early as January 13th in his letter to the French, that his ambition was to "To build a new contract for the nation, to structure the action of the government and Parliament, but also the positions of France at European and international level" ?

Bluff the opinion

With such proclamations, the macronia obviously takes the risk of reaping great disappointments, and not only among the irreducible claiming every Saturday, among others, the dissolution of the National Assembly and the resignation of the President. To ward off this risk, the Elysée is betting on surprise. The effect "blast" supposed to bluff the opinion and petrify the opponent. This strategy imposes secrecy, forcing ministers and parliamentarians of the majority to navigate a thick fog. Besides the Prime Minister, received Sunday evening at the Elysee, a handful of very close – advisers Alexis Kohler and Philippe Grangeon, the presidents of the Modem, Francois Bayrou, and the Assembly, Richard Ferrand – would be in the secret.

While waiting for the curtain of the "Act II" of the five-year period to open, everyone goes for its proposals. The members of the government were also encouraged by Macron himself: at the end of each Council of Ministers, the part reserved for informal discussions was devoted to solutions to the crisis. In this exercise, the most enterprising are naturally the most "political", from the right for most (read opposite).

At the Elysee Palace, it is assured not to worry: the apparent resurgence of left-right cleavage will not prevent the majority to gather behind the "New contract" proposed by the President. Annoyed by the ultraliberalism lawsuit, Matignon recalls that Edouard Philippe himself indicated in his "Restitution" that the great debate first expressed "An immense need for justice and equity".


If he wants to surprise in his answer, Macron is spoiled for choice. It can, for example, draw on the 66 proposals of the "Social and ecological pact" defended by the former Minister of Ecology Nicolas Hulot and the boss of the CFDT, Laurent Berger. The latter advocate massive investment in the energy renovation of housing or the implementation of checks mobility. "The budgetary rigor carried in political totem, which pretends to lead a country the nose stuck to the rate of public deficit, is not a political project", wrote both men in the Sunday newspaper. Where they invited not to be confused "Fed up with tax injustice" and "Fed up". This could result in a lighter income tax for the middle classes and increased for the wealthy.

In addition to the numerous and costly social measures that could have been demanded during the hundred hours he devoted to the great debate – reindexing small pensions, support for single-parent families, lowering of VAT – it is mainly on the questions related to the democratic life and access to public services that Macron can hope to create surprise. It could, for example, go beyond the 15% envisaged in the introduction of a dose of proportional to the legislative elections or launch a new stage of decentralization. Or to attack some of the privileges denounced on the roundabouts: benefits reserved for former presidents, the removal of the ENA … Symbols whose disassembly would have the merit of being fiscally painless.

Alain Auffray



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