MACRON. Emmanuel Macron speaks with all the leaders of the opposition on the occasion of his “major political initiative”, this Wednesday, August 30, 2023. Will legislative texts or referendums be able to arise from the meeting?
Promise kept for Emmanuel Macron. The President of the Republic is implementing his “major political initiative” this Wednesday, August 30, 2023 by meeting with all (or almost) the opposition forces. A meeting is given to political leaders at 3 p.m. in Seine-Saint-Denis, north of Paris, at the education center of the Legion of Honor for an “afternoon of work”. The discussions are to continue during a dinner, but that is without counting on the boycott of the four Nupes parties who refuse to take part in this “media staging.”
If the leaders of the opposition have all assured that they have no “illusions” about the effects of this meeting, all have agreed to go there. They intend to arrive with their arms full of proposals, because that is the objective of the interview: to build legislative texts “together” to pave the way or “if necessary”, to agree on referendums. On the agenda for discussions are “the international situation”, “the effectiveness [de l’]public action”, “the cohesion of the Nation”, but also “the place of school”, the questions of “integration”, and that of “purchasing power and inequality”. Neither the leaders’ advisors politicians, nor the press will be able to attend this meeting behind closed doors. Should we expect a report or possible announcements at the end of the interview? The Elysée has not yet communicated on a next speech.
Will Emmanuel Macron announce referendums?
The opposition leaders have no shortage of proposals to make to the executive, but aware of the divisions and in view of the difficult exchanges between them and the majority, many intend to ask for referendums. The right and the far right, represented by Eric Ciotti and Jordan Bardella, have their sights set on migration policy and both want a referendum on the proposed constitutional law on immigration.
The majority is working on a bill whose presentation and vote in the National Assembly have been postponed for months. In question ? The uncertainty of obtaining a majority unless the text is toughened to attract Republican votes, but at the risk of seeing the left wing of the majority disintegrate. However, in his interview with Point published on August 23, Emmanuel Macron assured that he wanted to “significantly reduce immigration, starting with illegal immigration” and resume his bill “at the start of the school year”. But unlike the right, the head of state is banking on the protection of “our external, European borders”.
On the left, Nupes is demanding consultation of the French on a completely different subject: a referendum on pension reform, only a few months after its adoption and while the bill must take effect on Friday 1er September 2023. LFI, the PS, EELV and the PCF believe that this is “the only referendum project that the French are waiting for”. Citizens’ opposition to this reform was manifested in the streets for several months before the forced adoption of the text by 49.3.
Consensus between Macron and the oppositions on security and authority?
Emmanuel Macron insisted on the return of order and authority during these last speeches and again in the interview given to Point. Subjects which are those of predilection of the right and which The Republicans have seized. Eric Ciotti thus intends to ask for a strengthening of security and justice, the elimination of “rights for illegal immigrants” or even the elimination of allowances for “parents who have failed in their duties”. Proposals to which the majority did not follow up. The Head of State also considered that the solution was not in depriving aid, but in better support for families.
While a whole series of measures were announced by the Head of State, then by the Minister of Education Gabriel Attal with a view to the start of the 2023 school year, school could still be at the heart of the discussions. The left wants to make proposals to respond to the difficulties of recruitment in National Education. On the far right, Jordan Bardella, spoke of an “overhaul of school programs” to highlight “the history of the Nation” as well as a “better attractiveness of the teaching vocation through an additional salary increase” for respond to what he calls the “school crisis”.
Will Emmanuel Macron do more to revalue the work of teachers after having defended the implementation of the “teacher pact” and promised a minimum salary of €2,000 for all teachers from 2023? His minister Gabriel Attal again recalled that in return for additional missions carried out by teachers, such as replacements, teachers could increase their salaries.
On purchasing power?
Visible inflation in the prices of all products, including electricity bills, is also a subject on which the opposition wishes to be heard. Nupes, if it prepares proposals, also wants to point out the increase in the price of school supplies, the cost of student living, the price of electricity, fuel and food products. As for the far right, which is arriving full of demands, it intends to ask for a “moratorium on any increase in taxes” until the end of Emmanuel Macron’s five-year term. The RN also wants a “reduction in energy bills and fuel prices, the tax exemption of salary increases of up to 10%, and the elimination of the CVAE (contribution on the added value of companies, editor’s note)”.
Not sure that new aid put in place by the State will be announced at the end of the meeting. Emmanuel Macron clarified in his interview with Point that “State expenditure will fall by more than 3% in volume, that is to say taking into account inflation”, in 2024. A reduction which must involve the reduction of “exceptional measures put in place to deal with the energy price crisis”.
More discreet, the representatives of the Radical Party and the UDI nevertheless have ideas to defend but intend to focus on “the project of institutional and territorial reform”. The first wishes to establish a non-renewable seven-year term, proportional representation in legislative elections and decentralization of state services. On this last point, he is joined by the UDI, whose boss Hervé Marseille wants a “return to greater fiscal autonomy for communities”.
In search of a majority, is Macron extending a hand to the right?
Emmanuel Macron’s major political initiative seems to be the logical continuation of the presidential camp’s strategy of obtaining majorities text by text. If at the beginning of the summer the head of state excluded the RN and LFI from the “republican arc” with which he wanted to work, he finally changed his mind. Only the Liot group made up of 21 deputies was not invited to the meeting. A retaliation for having tabled the motion of censure which almost got the better of the government during the crisis over pension reform? This is what the political group thinks, visibly disappointed not to have been invited.
But of all the opposition forces, the Republican right seems to receive the most attention from the executive branch. On the eve of the “Saint-Denis meetings”, Emmanuel Macron called Eric Ciotti, boss of the LR, and Jordan Bardella, head of the RN, when the leaders of the left had news via the advisors of the Elysée . If the majority seeks to calm its relations with the right, it is perhaps because it is not calm about the hypothesis of a motion of censure tabled or voted by the LR party and which would then be in able to overthrow the government. A scenario that could present itself in the fall with the presentation of the finance bill and the Social Security financing bill (PLFSS) to the National Assembly at the end of September. Prepared for all eventualities, the Prime Minister assured BFMTV be ready to use article 49.3 of the Constitution to pass the texts. A choice that will not be without risk.