Emmanuel Macron and the quest for consensus

Un legitimate skepticism accompanies the summit meeting organized on Wednesday August 30 at the education house of the Legion of Honor in Saint-Denis (Seine-Saint-Denis). In the presence of the Prime Minister and the presidents of the three emblies (National embly, Senate, Economic, Social and Environmental Council), the Head of State will try to convince the representatives of the eleven parties represented in Parliament that, despite the tensions who reign there, it is possible to find some common ground in the service of the French from here to the end of the five-year term. If this is the case, the proposals that emerge will likely lead to texts, part of which could be submitted to a referendum.

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This is not the first time that Emmanuel Macron has run after consensus. Having become the crisis president for six years, he has on many occasions invoked the spirit of the National Council of Resistance (CNR), which had succeeded in 1944 in building, beyond the divisions, a recovery program whose the country still bears the traces. But even when the circumstances lent themselves to the union, as was the case during the pandemic, he failed to raise the mistrust of his opponents, who criticized him for being too vertical, even “Jupiterian”. “. Since June 2022, the political climate has further hardened, with the loss of the absolute majority in the National embly and the strong opposition aroused by the pension reform.

The announcement by the left that she would go to the date but boycott the dinner sums up the suspicious climate of these meetings in Saint-Denis, which are unlikely to resemble “Major Political Initiative” dreamed of by Emmanuel Macron. Reduced to fairer proportions, however, the meeting has an undeniable utility. First, because the world is in the throes of upheaval, notably due to a climate crisis which is intensifying, and that the country cannot afford the luxury of being idle for four years. Secondly, because public action has come up against for years, whatever the political color of the rulers, on structural problems which are fueling the democratic crisis and the rise of Lepenism: the loss of effectiveness of public action, the complexity territorial organization, in particular. Finally, because early summer urban riots have highlighted the extent of the national tear without a single party having seen fit, to date, to publicly draw lessons from this trauma.

In this context, none of those who oppose Emmanuel Macron took the risk of practicing the policy of the empty chair, and that is a good thing: devoting an afternoon and an evening to discussing subjects behind closed doors as heavy as integration, education, authority, citizenship and institutions even seems short, given the stakes. Still, the fear of being trapped by a presidential maneuver is strong. She pushes each camp to come loaded with demands: the left wants a referendum to abolish the pension reform, the right a popular consultation to restrict immigration, which she holds responsible for the violence of the summer.

If Emmanuel Macron does not manage to find the right words to ease the tension, if he does not adopt a real listening posture to stimulate debate and bring out more unifying proposals, the meeting will be missed. It will only look like a chase behind the right, whose votes he is seeking in Parliament.

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