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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: https://www.humanite.fr/elysee-macr...

by Grégory Marin, Aurélien Soucheyre and Lionel Venturini

Élysée. Macron Wants to Bill the Community Instead of the CAC 40

Translated Tuesday 11 December 2018, by Hervé Fuyet

Coming out of a long silence, the head of state addressed the country in an attempt to quell the social anger revealed by the yellow vest movement. He succeeded in the feat of not involving neither the rich nor the employers.

Published on the web by the political service of L’Humanité on Tuesday, December 11

Yesterday, the yellow vests installed at the tollbooth of the La Ciotat motorway, near Marseille, followed the televised intervention of the President of the Republic. Jean-Paul Pelissier/Reuters

It was his New Year’s Eve speech before its time. Emmanuel Macron, in his speech to the nation last night, to regain control in the midst of the yellow vest crisis, wanted to re-make his presidency, having been so badly treated, undergoing the litany of "Macron resign" in the processions and roadblocks that have dotted the country for almost a month. He first focused on the violence in the country, which he wants to distinguish from the country’s deep anger. "When violence is unleashed, freedom ceases," asserts the former philosophy student. He feels this deep anger to be ”fair, in many ways". He says he is aware that he has "sometimes hurt" some people with his words. A mea culpa that comes after four Saturdays of thunderous mobilization. Also, Emmanuel Macron did not fully take responsibility for his actions, saying that the distress of the French people "did not begin yesterday". In other words, it is the fault of his predecessors.

Not up to expectations

A "social turning point" of the five-year term of office? Not by making management contribute, in any case. Because the measures announced carefully exclude any direct contribution from companies. "First of all, I want to declare a state of economic and social emergency today. "By announcing that workers’ wages at the Smic would increase by "100 euros per month from 2019", he is far from meeting the expectations expressed at the blocked traffic circles. Emmanuel Macron does not intend to give a boost to the Smic as hoped, but to increase the activity bonus, a social assistance that will not increase the cost to employers. It is a first gift to the rich, on behalf of the national community. This announcement is coupled with the possibility for companies to have "overtime hours worked without taxes or charges from 2019". As for the "Christmas bonus”, which so many yellow vests demand - as do the French who support them - the head of state and his friends of the CAC 40 get off very cheaply: Emmanuel Macron asks "all employers who can" to give their employees "a bonus of 1,000 euros without charges". Three measures, one recipe: call upon the community, while leaving capital untouched.

Emmanuel Macron, who lectured ministers who wanted to reconsider the abolition of the solidarity tax on wealth (ISF), was tough on this issue last night. This gift delivered, without compensation, to the rich, while others are forced to make very difficult efforts, has not been called into question. "I know that some people would like me to retract the reform of ISF,” he says. But he refuses to do so, falsely asking himself: "For nearly forty years, it existed. Were we living better? "The richest people were leaving and our country was weakening," he replied to himself, despite studies proving the opposite. "Going backwards would weaken us," he insists. "This tax has been eliminated for those who invest in our economy and thus help create jobs," he argues. Except that it is not true. It was removed without forcing his rich friends to invest in the economy....

The President of the Republic, cornered like never before, made a few gestures. In 2019, the increase in the CSG in 2018 for pensioners receiving less than €2,000 of monthly pension will be cancelled. This measure, which affects very modest pensioners, and which the President of the Republic had not hesitated to praise in the field during dialogues with pensioners filmed by the cameras, has largely contributed to its unpopularity. "The effort they were asked to make was too much, and it was not fair," measures the head of state today, who wants to radically reform our pension system in 2019.

Mayors called upon to help

The speech is conspicuous by some major absentees: no increase in the number of APLs as requested by the HLM sector, no questioning of the costly Cice, which companies will receive twice this year because of the mechanism chosen to make it sustainable.

It has not escaped the President of the Republic that the institutions are also contested. "My legitimacy comes only from you," he said. It is to forget very quickly that his election is only the result of a Fifth Republic that is rotting on its feet. So Emmanuel Macron said he wanted to make a gesture, with the "taking into account of the ‘vote blanc” [1]. He also wishes to be able to "take the living pulse of our country, everywhere in the land”. The mayors, whom he has so often humiliated, are being called to the rescue, because they "bring the Republic to the field". We’ll see. The one who wanted to concentrate even more power in the Elysée by suffocating the National Assembly with his institutional reform project now says he wants to work on a "new contract with the nation".

Suddenly, without transition, at the end of the speech, Macron began to agitate the same fears as the extreme right. "We will have to address the issue of immigration. We have to face it. " Face what? The question, or immigration? Mystery. Especially after having already passed, this year, the most repressive immigration law in the history of the Fifth Republic. The Head of State felt so refreshed at the end of the speech that the campaign for upcoming European election was back on track: while the theme of immigration did not top the list of demands by the yellow vests, Emmanuel Macron introduced it. The taking over of the legacy of the yellow vests has already begun.

Grégory Marin, Aurélien Soucheyre and Lionel Venturini

[1unmarked ballots, cast for neither candidate

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