After three weeks at Fort de Brégançon, Emmanuel Macron meets his government on Wednesday at the Élysée. A reunion preceded Tuesday evening by a working dinner with Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne to discuss the main priorities for the start of the school year.
The presidential agenda remains largely occupied by international issues. In recent days, Mr. Macron has spoken with Ukrainian and Russian Presidents Volodymyr Zelensky and Vladimir Putin, but also with American, British and German leaders about the Ukrainian nuclear power plant in Zaporizhia. And Thursday, the day after the Council of Ministers, he will be in Algeria for a three-day visit.
But from Bormes-les-Mimosas (Var), during a commemoration speech, Mr. Macron also seemed to set the tone for a potentially complicated return to France.
After denouncing the Russian “brutal attack” in Ukraine, he called on the French to “face the coming time, resist uncertainties” and “accept to pay the price for our freedom and our values.”
Remarks “extraordinarily worrying, anxiety-provoking”, judged the deputy Les Républicains Éric Ciotti.
A speech “to prepare public opinion”, according to Benjamin Morel, lecturer in public law (Paris II Panthéon-Assas), while heavy decisions await the executive on the budget, energy policy and inflation is on everyone’s mind.
The summer period was also marked by a succession of climatic dramas, from drought to fires to deadly storms in Corsica.
“This summer has combined everything (…) We have all touched on what the word climate change means and causes in our daily lives”, summed up the government spokesman, Olivier Véran.
– Continue the “consultation” –
It is therefore time for “general mobilization” with a watchword, “energy sobriety”, according to the president’s entourage.
“Sovereignty”, the “battle for the climate” and “equal opportunities” form the priorities for this back-to-school period which the executive approaches “with serenity, as soon as there is a clear course, consistency and constancy in the action taken”, according to the same source.
The energy transition will figure prominently in the speech of the government, which will present a bill to accelerate renewable energies in the fall. A government seminar in particular devoted to ecology will be held next week, and the Prime Minister must also devote a speech to it at the Medef back-to-school university.
“There is the desire to show that they are on the offensive” on this theme. “Will it be enough? It’s not easy, but it helps to put things into a story,” according to Benjamin Morel.
Other complicated projects await the government, a few weeks after a first parliamentary session devoted to the adoption of measures on purchasing power, in the unprecedented context of a lack of an absolute majority in the National Assembly.
In the absence of an extraordinary session in September, the debates in the Assembly and the Senate will not resume until October. “We will continue on this path of consultation, this is what works the most” and “this is the message that the French sent us during the legislative elections”, explained Mr. Véran.
The discussions promise to be all the more stormy as “the back-to-school agenda will also be marked by work”, recalled Mr. Macron, with the claimed objective of “full employment” during this second five-year term.
First part expected in this area: a text on unemployment insurance which should extend the tightening of access to benefits and which arouses the hostility of the left and unions. The boss of the CFDT Laurent Berger is also expected from Wednesday afternoon in Matignon.
Also looming on the horizon is another major test: the budget. A test for which the presidential camp does not exclude activating 49-3, which allows adoption without a vote by engaging the responsibility of the government.