Back in Paris, after a few days spent at Fort Brégançon, Emmanuel Macron is preparing to deliver his sixth greeting speech from the Élysée. As usual, his entourage did not hesitate to stage a president still at work while the French celebrate the end of year celebrations. “He follows the files and prepares for the start of the school year, was it thus indicated to AFP. Brégançon, like the Élysée, is a place of work and crisis management. » Consequences of Covid in China, power cuts, war in Ukraine, inflation, thinking about the end of lifethe health system, National Education or the reforms about to be initiated are all subjects mentioned at the Palace as being on the menu of the presidential address which will be broadcast on Saturday at 8 p.m.
The Head of State, too, prepared the ground before the truce of the confectioners without going over the top since he simply promised blood and tears for 2023. Next year should be “a somewhat difficult moment in our history” because of “global economic downturn” he assured on TF1 from the beginning of December, counting on a “recovery that should happen in 2024”.
Under the tree, planing unemployment insurance
In short, we should let the storm pass and grit our teeth before better days come. Either way for the Elysée tenant to justify his plans for the coming months: “We will continue to hold on, we will absorb this shock, and we must now revive things, through reforms – on work, education, health, pensions – to be stronger”. Elements of language that will not be enough to prevent him from the mobilizations in the making in the face of the bad blows that his executive hopes to rain down from the first weeks of the new year. The government did not even wait for the end of the truce to get down to it. The unemployment insurance reform decree thus fell on the eve of Christmas Eve with surprise provisions, provoking the ire of the unions. In addition to a reduction of 25% in the duration of cover for beneficiaries when the unemployment rate is below 9%, a reduction of 40% is planned for a rate below 6%. “The Minister had mentioned that there would be an additional notch of modulation”, tried to clear the cabinet of Olivier Dussopt, while being denied by the organizations of employees who remain headstrong against this system of variations of the allowances according to the economic situation whose entry into force is envisaged as of February 1st.
Precarious work for all
On the “reform of the labor market” aspect, the government does not intend to stop there, however. Following the same logic which would like the unemployed to be responsible for unemployment, the experimentation of the RSA conditional on 15 to 20 hours of weekly activity must also be implemented in 19 communities selected by the executive in mid-December. A test before the generalization of these additional constraints for the beneficiaries of the minimum income but also a prefiguration of “France Travail”. The new version of Pôle emploi, which would merge with other actors in the sector such as the local missions, is also planned for 2023… and is also contested by the unions who fear a regionalization of the public employment service as much as a reduction in its resources under the guise of pooling. Young people should not be spared either since looming in particular the reform of the vocational high school, one of the key measures of which consists of extending the duration of internships. “Increasing the time of internship in a company is to reduce by as much the time of presence of young people at school”, hammers in particular the FSU which calls for a new day of action on January 17 after the inter-union mobilizations of the fall for the abandonment of the project.
Pensions, queen of reforms
Rest that it is pension reform, with the postponement of the legal age to 64 or 65, which should be the main event in the first weeks of January. Determined to keep as much latitude as possible, Emmanuel Macron announced by surprise before the holidays the postponement of his presentation by Élisabeth Borne to January 10 for a passage in the Council of Ministers on January 18 or 25 and an examination in parliament in stride. A few more weeks to try to convince the LR right divided on the issue.
His new boss, Eric Ciotti, was received just before Christmas at Matignon where he felt that an extension to age 65 would be “a brutality that is probably too strong compared to the situation that the French are experiencing”, without excluding a transition to 64 years of age coupled with an increase in the number of required contribution years. He must return there the first week of January. The option of an amending social security financing bill – to speed up the reading of the text and make more free use of 49.3 – is not however ruled out. The trade union front presents itself united against any age measure. “We will have to be ready for the first half of January”warns the confederal secretary of the CGT Céline Verzeletti while the left is also preparing its weapons.
The parliamentarians of the Nupes and the senatorial left announced, during a press conference, their determination to form a , to use all the tools at their disposal in the hemicycles and to contribute to the mobilization outside. In addition to the January 21 march to which the rebellious are calling, a first joint initiative could take place as early as mid-January.
Another tightening on immigration
At the same time, they will have to face another government offensive: the Darmanin-Dussopt bill on immigration. Sent to the Council of State on December 20, it must also land on the table of the Council of Ministers from the beginning of 2023. If with the residence permit “jobs in tension” (for only one year renewable), the Ministers of Labor and of the Interior are trying to play the ” the same time “, it is on their right that they look. Return of the double penalty, removal of the possibility of appeal for migrants, facilitation of expulsions, registration of foreigners… “Everything that LRs have always asked for on immigration, we offer it”, sums up the tenant of Place Beauvau. Here again, the mobilization is organized, with the holding of a first rally during the debate prior to the Assembly on December 6th.
Emmanuel Macron wants to go quickly and is banking on opening up multiple fronts to disperse the forces that oppose his projects, let’s hope he’s taken aback by the scale of the response.