Macron’s Address to the Nation
Last night, Sunday 14th June, President Emmanuel Macron addressed the nation regarding what France can expect going forward from the Covid 19 pandemic.
Here’s a breakdown of what he said.
As of today, Monday 15th June, the whole French territory, with the exception of Mayotte and Guyanne, is considered a green zone.
This means :
- Restaurants and cafes will be able to open whilst maintaining social distancing
- Borders between European countries are open. Although he didn’t mention it specifically, we remind readers that reciprocal agreements are in place regarding quarantine periods, with France implementing the same requirements as other individual countries
- Hospitals and retirement homes are open to visitors
From Monday 22nd June, all schools, lycées and collèges will be open and attendance will be obligatory for all students.
From Wednesday 1st July, movement outside of Europe will also be permitted.
Although gatherings will continue to be restricted, municipal elections will go ahead on Sunday 28th June.
The first battle won, but the war not over
Although the government made the humanist choice to prioritise health over economy, the virus has not yet disappeared. For a long time yet we must live with the gestes barrières and hygiene precautions.
Nevertheless, déconfinement has been systematic and methodical. Thanks to the participation of everyone, France has been able to reopen and from today, the process will accelerate.
Moving forward, France must reboost its economy whilst protecting the most vulnerable. It must take stock of the strengths and weaknesses revealed during the sanitary crisis.
France showed itself to be inventive, reactive and solidaire in the face of an unprecedented situation, qualities that must now be developed over the coming months.
Aspects that will be swiftly corrected include the country’s dependence on other continents for products, cumbersome organisation and social/territorial inequalities.
Over the next two years, the government’s priority is to re-establish France’s independence to allow citizens and residents to live happier, to live better.
The first step to achieving this goal is to establish a strong, ecological, sovereign and solidaire economy in France.
In response to Covid 19, a whopping €500 billion was found to support businesses and industries.
In spite of this, closures and bankruptcies remain inevitable but the reconstruction will seek to limit redundancies as far as possible.
Raising taxes to cover the cost is not an option as Macron recognised France already has some of the highest rates in Europe. Instead, he envisages the creation of a strong, stable, independent economy to avoid reliance on other countries.
This economic reconstruction will include:
- Independence in digital development and technology
- Independence in industry and agriculture
- Research and consolidation of sectors
- Relocating where necessary
- Reconciliation between products and the climate
- Thermal renovation of buildings
- Renewable energies
- Maritime infrastructure (France is the 2nd world power in terms of oceans)
There will also be steps put in place to bring about social reconstruction, including:
- negotiation of the newly implemented Segur health investment programme to support health professionals and invest in new and more efficient preventative health measures
- huge investment in to teaching, training and jobs for young people
Although Macron is keen to establish French sovereignty, he continues to support a stronger and unified Europe.
The Franco-German alliance, a joint borrowing/investment programme, will allow France and Germany to support other member states in asserting themselves against world powers such as China and the USA.
Macron stressed that independence will require unity.
He reiterated that everyone, regardless of origins or religion, is welcome in France.
He highlighted the need to fight against the fact that name, address or skin colour could reduce an individual’s access to opportunities; the need to fight against racism, antisemitism and discrimination.
He also stated that the fight could not be won by a hateful rewriting of history, and warned against patriotism becoming communitarianism.
Assuring listeners that the Republic would not forget any trace of its history, he urged against destroying artworks or statues, calling instead for lucid discussions of France’s past, in particular its history with Africa.
The future, he said, must be built on truth, not disorder. To have freedom, we need security and as such the gendarmes deserve support and recognition for their work.
Decentralisation of power
Macron confirmed that Covid 19 had revealed that changes are needed at government level and that certain decisions needed to be taken outside of Paris.
As such, he aims to liberate the creativity and the energy of those who reacted so well in the face of crisis. In particular, additional freedom and responsibilities will be accorded to hospitals, universities, businesses, mothers and other social stakeholders.
The president will be back on our screens in July to present the findings from consultations and discussions that will take place over the coming weeks.
In the meantime, he asked us all to remember France’s strengths:
“our history, our youth, our work ethic and commitment, our desire for justice, our ability to create, to speak and change the world, our kindness.”