While Emmanuel Macron will address the French on Monday April 13, Bruno Jeudy, political editor of Paris Match, reveals the likely outlines of this crucial speech for the President of the Republic.
Here we are. The “next day” begins. Emmanuel Macron returns to television on Monday April 13 for his fourth speech since the start of the health crisis. After announcing rupture decisions (March 12), promised to draw all the consequences of this unprecedented confinement (March 16) and hammered that “the day after will not look like the day before” (March 25) , the President of the Republic will put “the course on the post confinement”, according to his entourage. He is expected to announce that the confinement will continue beyond April 15.
After leaving the management of the daily newspaper and its multiple problems to the Prime Minister, the Head of State goes back online. Criticized for his field trips sometimes in disregard (as in Pantin) of health barriers, Emmanuel Macron feels that the time has come to give prospects to the French after 25 days of confinement. The “war”, to use its martial language, is obviously not over even if the number of patients placed in intensive care begins to decrease. For this new speech qualified as “very important”, the Elysee promises that there will be “concrete, clarifications and a perspective”. “It is a question, indicates one of his advisers, of projecting himself as far as possible while being concrete without losing the achievement of this acceptance of confinement by the French.” A first challenge for this president who too often yields to lyricism in his televised speeches.
“There were no anti-containment riots”
Emmanuel Macron should, indeed, take the opportunity to congratulate the French who, overall, accept and respect the containment measures. “The number of tickets issued by the police is reasonable and there have been no anti-containment riots, including in the neighborhoods,” said the palace. “It holds,” exclaims one, relieved, in the presidential entourage. “And it works,” said Edouard Philippe cautiously before the Senate.
On television, the president will take the opportunity first to cover with praise the “first line” at the front against the coronavirus. Doctors and caregivers who have worked miracles by pushing the walls of hospitals to accommodate all patients in the intensive care units. The hospital embolism seems to have been narrowly avoided. Emmanuel Macron will also praise the “shadow workers” – garbage collectors, cashiers, police, gendarmes, civil servants… – who keep the country going despite everything. At the cost of risks for their own health… often lacking masks! This tiny and vital oral protection, symbol of the impotence of the fifth world power.
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It is precisely his “clarifications” on the generalization of masks, tests and tracing of the French via a telephone application that are most awaited. If the French keep morale (76%) according to an Elabe-BFMTV survey, they remain very skeptical (56%) about the chaotic management of the health crisis. In what looks like the first day of the rest of the quinquennium, Emmanuel Macron should decide this question of whether or not to wear a mask. An almost cultural habit in Asia but unthinkable so far here and in Latin countries. After all, didn’t Emmanuel Macron set an example by appearing, several times during his outings, with a mask on his face? The Elysee Palace admits that “we are moving towards a rise in power” in the wearing of masks and is not offended to see the mayors of Nice, Cannes and Sceaux take orders to make wearing compulsory: “In war economy, all energies are good to take. We’re not going to tease them. ” And too bad if it takes on the appearance of an institutional mess. It must be said that in terms of masks, the preparation was such that the government was stepping on eggs when, in the provinces of northern Italy, covering your face is now mandatory or you will be fined 400 euros!
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Another expected upheaval: “tracking” via a telephone application to ensure the health monitoring of the population. The president is said to be “not very comfortable” on this very sensitive subject. In private, he expressed two reservations: maximum respect for public freedoms and medical confidentiality. His ministers Olivier Veran (Health) and Cedirc O (Digital) nevertheless opened the door to “tracing” in “Le Monde” but on a voluntary basis. A position that divides the presidential party and triggers strong internal opposition. The president is said to be leaning towards the German model of tracing based on volunteering. An intermediate solution that specialists already consider little or not effective.
“We mustn’t miss the exit”
There remains the calendar of confinement: Emmanuel Macron should give the French a firm deadline, probably two more weeks. On March 27, the Prime Minister extended until April 15 the ban on going out. Its scientific council has already recommended the six-week term which would bring the containment to an end around April 28. This coordination of the deconfinement was entrusted to Jean Castex, former collaborator of Nicolas Sarkozy, in charge until now of the preparation of the Olympic Games of Paris 2024. The president met with him on Monday. Will he set a more precise horizon for this deconfinement on television? Since Edouard Philippe said the word, a week ago before the fact-finding mission of the National Assembly, the Prime Minister has not stopped back-pedaling. The ministers are forbidden to talk about it and the subject has become almost taboo. “We must not miss the exit,” worries an adviser. The entry into containment caused too much damage in public opinion. Since then, the executive has been trying to regain the trust lost at the start.
The rest of the quinquennium is de facto suspended on this success or not of the deconfinement. The head of state knows that he will have to find ways and means to relegitimate himself. This will be necessary to enter the “next day” and start this orthogonal program with the liberal policy followed since 2017 and which he began to describe during his speeches on March 12 and 16. Should it dissolve? Or even put its mandate back into play? His friends advise him against it. A major overhaul against the backdrop of national union is said to be preferable. Others urge him to change paradigm outright. His opponents, always as numerous and divided, await him at the turn. Some are already very noisy (Marine Le Pen, Jean-Luc Melenchon), the others are silent (Xavier Bertrand, Francois Baroin, Bernard Cazeneuve). Eternal optimist, the equilibrist Emmanuel Macron is ready to cross once again, according to one of his favorite formulas, the “valley of death”.