Emmanuel Macron is not in favor of a “total containment” demanded by some doctors. Do you think we should go that far?
What is certain is that we must have a stricter and better respected confinement. Jogging, as important as it is, should be banned at this time. Public transport must be reduced to the absolute minimum and only activities essential to the survival of the population should be maintained. The police must also be strengthened in areas where containment is not respected and the sanctions regime must be further increased.
Between health requirements – staying at home – and economic – avoiding a complete stop – has France found the right balance?
What is wobbly is communication and sometimes contradictory injunctions. I am particularly worried about all these intermediary companies, from 15 to 150 employees, who are in fragile because they do not have sufficient cash and are in the dark about what they can do. Faced with this legal vagueness, there are two reflexes: that of employees who use the right of withdrawal; that of employers who sometimes close their factories thinking that they can benefit their employees from partial unemployment. To allow companies to know if they can put their employees to work or not, I ask the government to quickly release a guide to good practices and set up an economic “15”, an emergency number declined in each department. This concerns a large part of the economic fabric. And there is an emergency.
The system put in place – partial unemployment, paid holidays, etc. – is it sufficient?
The device announced by Emmanuel Macron seemed sufficient. But the economic reality is far from the media announcements. Many companies are not entitled to partial unemployment. On the ground, in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, almost one out of two cases is currently rejected. We are locked into our regulatory and administrative constraints. Three weeks to process a file at the BPI is also far too long. To reduce the time between the time of disbursement and that of reimbursement, I request that the Swiss model be applied for an immediate declaration of partial unemployment with signature on paperless honor on the Internet. As with health, I think we have to be very careful to avoid a sort of economic sorting which leads to choosing the companies we help and those we let die. You also have to think about the after. To encourage recovery via local businesses, I propose to relax the Public Procurement Code.
What about autoentrepreneurs?
We must not forget them. Many autoentrepreneurs today are without income and they are not integrated into any state scheme. I am thinking in particular of all the autoentrepreneurs who started their activity less than a year ago. Why not take back what the Bush administration committed in 2008? I suggest that each of them be immediately sent a check for 1500 euros.
What lessons do you draw from this crisis on the French economic and social model?
This will require a redefinition of the boundaries between the state and the market. To also redefine what economic sovereignty is. We need health independence – we cannot depend on China for the production of masks, gels or medicines -, but also food and digital independence. Any fall in the common agricultural policy would be a major political mistake. We may know tomorrow a climate crisis which involves the same situations of confinement. And our dependence on American and Chinese technologies is such that it would be enough for Uncle Sam or the Chinese dragon to press the “shutdown” button to put our economy down.
Regaining sovereignty does not mean closing borders or ending the market economy. But in the face of globalization, we must have the means to act and to weigh in. This also involves the territorialization of economic action. We must get out of economic Jacobinism and make regions real pilots on the ground.
The public hospital complained of a lack of resources before the coronavirus … Should we give it to him?
As I said before before the crisis: the reduction in the number of civil servants cannot affect the hospital public service. But beyond the number of caregivers, you have to start over again – this is the spirit of the commission of inquiry which I announced the creation for the fall. There are superior goods of the nation and health is one. There must be an assumption of responsibility and awareness: a mistake has been made. The health economics cannot obey solely accounting rules, based on activity-based pricing and Ondam, the national target for health insurance spending.
Citizen petitions request the payment of fines to healthcare staff. Is it a good idea ?
It’s a generous idea and I support it. Even if these amounts are symbolic, all gestures of solidarity are good to take. I also want to salute corporate donations. If Ain, my department, has no shortage of masks, it is not because the state has distributed them, but because companies have donated to hospitals.
And it is because we need solidarity in this crisis that I propose that we compensate for the losses of non-food businesses. To do this, I would like to see the Fisac, the Intervention Fund for Services, Crafts and Commerce, brought out and that it be replenished by supermarkets and shops which can continue to operate and also sell inedible. Finally, on the model of the state of natural disaster, we propose to establish a state of health disaster so that insurance can take care of business operating losses.