In the shadow of Covid-19, July 14 will be unique for Emmanuel Macron. The French president will answer questions from two journalists on Tuesday at 13:10, while the country is waiting for answers to many questions. It should present an important recovery plan, with probable announcements for young people, the environment and against discrimination.
During his first July 14 as President of the Republic, Emmanuel Macron contented himself with a few words in the gallery. This year, in the context of an unprecedented crisis, the French president is renewing with an old French tradition: the live interview from the Élysée. The head of state will explain from 13:10, for 45 minutes, about his upcoming program by answering questions from two journalists for TF1, France2 and FranceInter.
An opportunity to set a course for the remaining two years. Because the president is already aiming for the follow-up: his candidacy for the 2022 presidential election. For this, he will need to regain French confidence and calm down in the face of a triple crisis: health, which is leading to an economic and social crisis. According to INSEE, France will plunge into a 9% recession in 2020, never before since 1948.
In addition to its defense plan in the event of a recovery in the epidemic – will it be necessary to make the mask mandatory? – The President should therefore specify in particular the economic recovery and employment plan planned for the beginning of the school year, including sectoral announcements, ranging from support for the recruitment of young people to environmental measures announced before the Citizens Climate Convention.
Economic recovery at the center of all attention
After months of crisis, the head of state knows he will need to convince. He therefore went green in the presidential residence in Lycta, in Versailles, in Yvelines, to prepare for the questions of the two journalists, Léa Salamé and Gilles Bouleau. He is approaching the exercise with a whole new asset in his game: the signing, on Monday 13 July, of a historic agreement of 8 billion euros in favor of the hospital, including an 183 euro increase for paramedics. This “Ségur de la santé” is the fruit of eight weeks of intensive negotiations between the unions and the government. “I was committed to it, we just did it,” the head of state tweeted.
I was involved in it, we just did it. The careers and salaries of our caregivers who gave so much during the crisis are being upgraded: https://t.co/qFvQWdQDhg
– Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) July 13, 2020
The recovery plan that is drawn up will be the subject of every attention. Some elements have already been filtered. The priority, stressed on Sunday, will be the Minister of Economic Affairs, Bruno Le Maire, to support the employment of young people. Several billions should also be devoted to thermal renovation of buildings, which combine economy and environment. And to encourage companies to relocate, taxes on production can be reduced with compensation for the regions that collect them.
Another sensitive issue is the pension reform, which the head of state wants to restart despite opposition from trade unions and employers. The same questions arise for the unemployment insurance reform, which will tighten the conditions for benefits, and which Emmanuel Macron wants to revive.
The sensitive Darmanin affair
The second topic that the president must show finesse is the issue of women. While he had made gender equality the “great cause” of the Quinquennium, Emmanuel Macron will probably also have to respond to the criticism of the appointment of Gérald Darmanin to the Home Office and of Eric Dupond-Moretti to Justice, one directed at a rape complaint, the other for explaining that women regret not whistling anymore. Feminist associations condemn a scandal and several demonstrations have been organized in France since their appointment.
While waiting to cross paths with the journalists, Emmanuel Macron was able to work on his positioning as a unifier, and he addressed the military at the Ministry of the Armed Forces, on July 13, from the Hôtel de Brienne, in Paris. He praised the “speed and dynamism” of the soldiers involved in dealing with the health crisis and stressed: “We must remain vigilant, but life has resumed its course”. A normality that remains very fragile and as a second wave of Covid-19 can be questioned at any time. It also weakens over the next 600 days.