Faced with the “manifest deterioration” of the health situation, Jean Castex calls on the French to be responsible. Is it sufficient ?
The French have been infantilized a lot. We have to trust them more. This confidence is essential, when we see the social nervousness in our country lately. So calls for responsibility are necessary. But there are two major flaws in the epidemic’s response. First, the slowness of screening. Recruiting 2,000 Medicare agents will not solve the problem. The goal should not be a million tests but to guarantee the French that in forty-eight hours they can be tested and have the result.
The other problem is the lack of explanation and readability. We need clarity, consistency, consistency. Although I welcome the reduction to seven days of the isolation period, all of this is still sorely lacking, confidence having been strongly shaken by the lies on the masks, the contradictory messages and the mistakes made in the management of the crisis. .
But you don’t want new restrictions …
You have to find the right balance. The government did not find it. There is still a cacophony on the pitch again and again. Order and counter-orders, expectations of circulars, media announcements without a future: the administrative machine is rusty and often incoherent. How can we, for example, allow the public to attend the Tour de France in the crowded streets of Lyon and deny them access to the slopes of the Grand Colombier? I appeal to everyone’s spirit of responsibility, including the government. You need a clear course of action and stick to it.
The executive is calling on companies to sign long-term partial activity agreements “en masse”. Do you support his request?
Partial unemployment is always preferable to permanent unemployment. These agreements have been useful and necessary during this crisis. But we cannot artificially keep the economy alive indefinitely. We need to better prepare for landing and then take off. Reforms and stronger government commitment are needed.
Personally, will you vote for the recovery plan?
I’m not ruling it out. I have no blinders and there are positive things in this plan: privileged supply over demand, the choice of competitiveness with the reduction in production taxes. But this stimulus package shouldn’t just be a spending plan. It must be accompanied by reforms, in particular that of dependency, about which there are many uncertainties, and that of pensions, which it is very important not to give up even if you have to do things differently. It must also be accompanied by a financing component. Because as always with macronism, we have a right-wing will and a left-wing reality. If it is not funded, the stimulus package will translate into additional taxes tomorrow. These two conditions are major. If they are not met, it will be a time bomb.
The debate resurfaces on social benefit fraud. Concretely, what do you recommend in this area?
We have to go very, very far. Social benefit fraud is an absolute state scandal. The parliamentary commission of inquiry chaired by MP LR Patrick Hetzel [qui doit rendre ses travaux ce mardi, NDLR] emphasizes it again. The best way to make our social benefits system sustainable is to fight fraud and inject that money back. We must go to the end of the logic of the RSA activity by setting up works of general interest and prohibiting for five years all recidivist social evaders, as well as tax. I ask that a major plan to fight social fraud be presented and debated this fall.
What does the arrival of Christophe Castaner at the head of the LREM group inspire you?
I wish him lots of courage. The En Marche group is more divided than ever. His short-headed election, yet decided by the Elysee and Matignon, is a Pyrrhic victory, which also shows that the center of gravity of the majority is on the left.
Left-wing mayors, especially environmentalists, are calling for a moratorium on the deployment of 5G. What do you think ?
Green mayors are falling into caricatures that will not serve the ecological cause. I don’t want to go back in time for France: I believe in innovation, in a France that is moving forward and succeeding economically, not in the return of the Minitel and the modem. Questions can certainly arise, we can do more in-depth studies on the subject, but 5G is useful. It is a source of progress and an issue of sovereignty.
You are launching a mission on ecology on Wednesday. Isn’t it a bit late for something other than a bit of a desperate communication operation to appear?
We cannot be accused of not addressing the issue of ecology and, the day we do, we accuse of political clawback. Otherwise, we never will! I have voluntarily chosen, in order to move forward, a period that is not electoral. Without being ashamed of what we have done, today we must invent a right-wing ecology. We have to get into this game and better late than never. This is fundamental because ecology is not eco-ideology, the suppression of the Christmas tree in Bordeaux or that of the Tour de France in Lyon.
LR still faces a serious embodiment problem that a possible primary is not sure to resolve. Are you worried ?
Worried no. Rather determined. We need a presidential candidacy and it cannot be a testimonial candidacy. It is out of the question that the LR deputies that I represent be sacrificed in 2022 because individual ambitions will have created division. The right must urgently rediscover an optimistic, daring discourse that makes the French envious. And it must be as effective and as concrete as possible. When we have right-wing candidates outside the field of the Republicans who have a real political impact – I am thinking of Xavier Bertrand – not only can that be seen but I think that it can be a solution for our political family.