La Croix: In September 2018, Emmanuel Macron announced an extension of the experiment "zero long-term unemployed" to new territories for 2020. Where are we?
Territories zero unemployed, two years later
Claire Hédon : This extension requires a new law, for which we do not have a date yet. But we are rather confident. These first two years show the success of the experiment. On the one hand, it proves that the long-term unemployed want only one thing: to find work again. On the other hand, the services they render are useful to society and create cohesion on the territory, without competing with established companies.
Have territories already applied for the second phase?
C.H .: More than 100 territories, urban and rural, in metropolitan France and overseas, are beginning to think about the project. Nothing can be promised until the law is published. But it is good to start working to bring together a steering committee and all interested stakeholders because the implementation of experimentation takes time.
We do not believe in the imposed generalization of the system but in its extension on a voluntary basis. It is necessary that the citizens are involved, that they want to carry this adventure. A mayor who imposes it in his commune, it would serve no purpose.
The state has however decreased this year its financial participation, from 18 000 € per person to 17 000 € …
C. H.: Yes, and that's incomprehensible. This decision goes against the project and we are worried about 2020. The decline comes much too early. For now, companies aiming for employment (EBE, the business structures created for this experiment, Ed) are not profitable. And that's perfectly normal! Any startup that launches does not make money in its early years. And each territory is different, with more or less needs. A general decrease in aid amounts to erasing all the specificities.
In Villeurbanne, a fierce fight against unemployment
In the book, precisely, you point out the difficulties for the urban territories. How to explain this?
C.H .:In the ten experimental territories, we noticed that the system was easier to set up in rural areas. Several factors play. The purchasing power of the inhabitants already: in the urban territories it can be very weak and the inhabitants thus make little use of the services of the EBE. Finally, we have trouble mobilizing young people in the city. We need to reinvent our approach for urban areas.