What do you think of the arrival of a “social Gaullist” in Matignon?
I have respect for people and the beliefs they hold. I have no doubt of his Gaullist convictions. But I wonder about its capacity to carry them within a majority with many deputies and ministers coming from the left, what is more in a political moment where the majority remains locked in an ambiguous “at the same time” and fluctuating. De Gaulle and Pompidou had a clear political line and a coherent parliamentary majority.
Isn’t Jean Castex’s arrival a new blow for the right?
The Prime Minister will have to deal with a plural majority, much more to the left than him. I ask to see what will be his ability to change course. Because we must change course to regain sovereignty, health, economic sovereignty and put the value of work at the center of the political project. All of this has been damaged. The right-wing electorate awaits strong action. When we are on the right, we have to make a real pension reform and we cannot be satisfied with the abandonment of all age measures. When we are on the right, we lower taxes and we do not hide behind ecology to invent new taxes. When you are on the right, you cannot have a lax penal policy that breaks the bond between the police and the nation.
Are you convinced by the new government team?
The team should still be new! We were told the big mess, but it is rather the big recycling: three quarters were already ministers yesterday! As for the new ones, they are the angels of reality TV. We favored the “did you see me on TV? On overall consistency. A government is not a cast of media celebrities, it should be a cohesive team serving the nation.
Your name has been circulated. Have you been contacted?
Despite glances and indirect messages, I have always recalled my deep desire to remain president of the LR group. It is not a refusal to serve France, but a declaration of love to the deputies of my group, proof of loyalty to my convictions, and of loyalty to those who support me. My mission for the future of the right is in front of me, not behind.
Emmanuel Macron intends to “draw a new path”. What should it be?
I first expect that priority will be given to employment, especially for young people, and economic recovery. Positive things were done during the crisis, but we have to go further. We must be able to lower taxes on businesses to improve their competitiveness, reduce payroll taxes to help jobs and build productive debt, which is in line with future investments. It’s a major choice. We also regret the sectarianism of the majority who voted against a certain number of our proposals, such as the exemption from social charges for young people hired on permanent contracts or the temporary lowering of VAT to 5.5 for the hotel industry and Restoration.
The second pillar is to build a shield that allows us to face a new crisis. A sanitary but also an environmental shield, because leaving the monopoly of ecology to people who want to transform it into a Marxist ideology is a big mistake.
A major conference of the territories is to be held this summer. What do you claim?
The issue of territories deserves daily and concrete treatment. What is needed is not a deconcentrated state, but a real pact of trust between the state and the local authorities which enables elements of daily life to be managed as close as possible to the French. The challenge is to face the territorial divide, which has not disappeared with the “yellow vests”.
Is the vote against from the right certain during the declaration of general policy?
As always in our group, there will be a majority position but freedom to vote. I want to: this is our trademark in the face of marchers on orders. But the road map of the right, its difference from that of the executive, is more important than the vote itself.
Some people at LR dream that Edouard Philippe is the presidential candidate of the right. You too ?
He is someone who commands respect and whose sobriety and political elegance have been appreciated by a large part of the right-wing electorate. But I don’t believe in political fiction. Before making plans on the comet, it is necessary to build the comet. The right will need a political incarnation, but today it especially needs to federate, find new ideas and embody political modernity. Hurry up. You have to work twice as hard.
I cannot bring myself to the idea that the right becomes a small island completely folded in on itself. If you think you have to be more harsh and caricatured against the current policy to be able to be identified, you risk disappearing. My will is to continue to make the right the first force of proposals. This is the only way for the sandwich course.