Faced with the French, Emmanuel Macron Denies Having Made a “Wrong Course”

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Emmanuel Macron during his press conference at the Elysee Palace

Thursday 25th April, 2019, at a major news conference at the Elysee Palace, the head of state promised a “new method” to “lift a lot of misunderstandings”.

Resolved and offensive. Emmanuel Macron says he has not made a mistake. But he promised a “new method” to “raise a lot of misunderstandings”, multiplying tax, social and institutional announcements Thursday, April 25, 2019 at a major press conference at the Elysee.

Read also: Retirement, taxes, RIC … here are the measures announced by Emmanuel Macron

In this unprecedented exercise since his election in 2017, in front of some 320 journalists, the Head of State has welcomed the “just claims to the origin” of the “unprecedented movement” of “yellow vests” which has profoundly changed the five-year since November 17th.

“Hard and sometimes unfair”

Often criticized for shock sentences, the president said he regretted giving “the feeling” of being “hard”, “sometimes unfair”. “It did not help the cause,” he admitted.

To “respond to the fair share of nervousness” and “raise a lot of misunderstandings”, he promised “a new method”, a “new way” to govern, with a leitmotif: “the human being put back in the heart of the project” .

But faced with this “deep sense of fiscal, social and territorial injustice” and the lack of consideration of many of our fellow citizens, “should we stop everything that has been done in the last two years? (…) Are we wrong? I believe the opposite, “nevertheless supported the president.

“I do not care about the next election”

And Mr. Macron assured him: “I do not care about the next presidential election”.

Among the measures that leaked from his unpublished intervention of April 15 due to the fire of Notre-Dame, the head of state confirmed wanting to reduce “significantly” income tax, referring to the figure of “5 billion “and funding by removing” some tax loopholes “and” the need to work more “.

Target of 120,000 civil servants?

But on this point, Mr. Macron has given some arbitration about the tracks mentioned in his majority, believing that working more could not go through the deletion of a holiday or a decline in the legal age of departure retired. On the other hand, he noted that one could “leave free choice” as regards the lengthening of the contribution period.

Another confirmation: the re-indexing of pensions of less than 2000 euros on inflation. With two new features: the end of the “under-indexation” of all pensions in 2021, and the desire for a minimum pension of 1000 euros for all those who have a full career.

Promise included in the aborted speech of April 15, the head of state said he no longer want closures “neither hospitals nor schools” by 2022.

He also said he was ready to “give up” the target of 120,000 civil servants he had set “if it is not tenable”.

At the educational level, he particularly wanted classes of up to 24 students from the large section of kindergarten to CE1.

Speaking at length on institutional issues, the Head of State confirmed that he wanted to introduce a 20% proportional vote in the Assembly and a 25% to 30% reduction in the number of parliamentarians, as part of a Constitutional Review that he wishes to see examined in Parliament “in the summer”.

On the other hand, he rejected the introduction of the white vote and compulsory voting.

Emmanuel Macron on April 25, 2019 at the Elysee.
Emmanuel Macron on April 25, 2019 at the Elysee. (© AFP / Ludovic MARIN)

Decentralization

Mr. Macron also wants to reform the referendum of shared initiative introduced in 2008 by lowering the trigger threshold to 1 million citizen signatures. As for the citizens’ initiative referendum (RIC), a recurring demand for “yellow vests”, he wants to introduce it, but only at the local level.

He confirmed his willingness to reform the Economic, Social and Environmental Council (CESE), which will include “as of June” 150 citizens selected by lot, which will be first and foremost on climate issues.

Macron also announced “a new act of decentralization” for early 2020 and “a profound reorganization of the administration” that Prime Minister Philippe Philippe will present in May.

Ministers meeting

He confirmed his intention to abolish the ENA and explained that he wanted to end the “big corps” of the civil service.

While NGO, opposition but also environmentalist wing of the majority have worried in recent days of the weakness of the announcements on the environment, Mr. Macron explained want to set up an “ecological defense council”.

He will chair this body that will bring together the Prime Minister and the ministers concerned and will “take the strategic choices and put at the heart of all our policies this climate emergency.”

The president has also promised to be “intractable” in the face of “political Islam that wants to secede with our Republic.”

To initiate the implementation of these projects, Édouard Philippe will meet Monday in “seminar” ministers and officials of the majority.

Macron did not understand

Political reactions were quick to emerge: Mr. Macron “did not understand” for the top of the list LFI Manon Aubry; no “concrete steps” on ecology for EELV; “Micro-measures” for Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, “impossible that the French people find themselves tonight” for spokesman LR Gilles Platret.

“Once again, Emmanuel Macron is demanding efforts from the workers, but at no time do we ask for efforts from those who brew millions,” denounced the PS.

On the “yellow vests” side, Maxime Nicolle ruled that Mr. Macron had “not listened to what has been said in the street for five months”. For Jerome Rodriguez, “he would sell sand to a Berber but it does not take”.

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