” No. It’s not okay. We postpone ”. Thursday, September 17 in the evening, Emmanuel Macron was surrounded by a dozen ministers responsible for monitoring the preparations for the bill devoted to “separatism”. The head of state’s thunderbolt fell around the table. Text not completed enough, lack of involvement for some, fear of seeing articles retoked by the Constitutional Council … “He was grumpy”, says a participant, going so far as to speak of “a small paranoia that haunts the Elysee”. Especially since the censorship by the Wise Men, at the beginning of August, of the LREM bill which provided for security measures for terrorist detainees leaving prison, on the pretext that they violated “several fundamental freedoms”.
“If we are not concrete this time, everyone will fall on us”, warned Emmanuel Macron Thursday. Translation of an adviser: “It is a very sensitive subject, even explosive. The president prefers that we take a little more time ”. Result: the trip planned for Tuesday to Lunel, a city in Hérault from which around twenty young jihadists have left in recent years to join the ranks of Daesh in Syria, has been postponed. Macron was to present the outlines of the future law, which must be debated in Parliament by early 2021.
“Lunel, he didn’t feel it…”
“This law on separatism, we’ve been talking about it for just three years,” quipped a deputy from the Republic on the move. In recent days, to prepare for the presidential visit, “reconnaissance” had been made in this city plagued by unemployment. Officially, the Palace evokes the context of the Covid-19 and the rebound of the health crisis to justify this postponement. “But Lunel, it’s still very marked terrorism, even a little touchy to come and talk about communitarianism. He did not feel it, ”explains a confidant of the Head of State, while two other cities, Marseille and Grenoble, were also in the balance.
To hear him on the subject, we will therefore have to wait a little longer … while the speech on the Republic, delivered on September 4 at the Pantheon, had been presented by his teams as the “starting point” of a regal sequence that was to last all the month. “We still have this incredible ability to regularly raise subjects, create an expectation, to leave people after their hunger,” grumbled a counselor. “This is not a postponement sine die, we keep the schedule set since the start of the school year, ”swears another.
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Emmanuel Macron should not therefore wait too long to speak: a priori, on October 2, let his entourage know, “time to screw everything up”. Until then, “it brings together very strong on the file, at the level of the services of the Interior, the Elysee and Matignon”, we assure within the executive, with a clear instruction for all the world: “We are closing our g … Macron demands radio silence from ministers and collaborators to avoid leaks. We have warnings monstrous, ”says a chief of staff.
Tensions with Blanquer on school trips
It is that the question marks, and tensions, are still numerous. According to our information, several passes of arms between the head of state and certain ministers have taken place in recent days. With Jean-Michel Blanquer, for example, who was in favor of the idea of enshrining in law the ban on wearing the veil on school trips. Macron said no, because it is too divisive in society. The divided reactions aroused at the end of the week – including within the majority – the controversy over the veiled student of the Unef auditioned at the National Assembly, confirmed his impression.
“Anyway, with the veil, he is not comfortable,” says a deputy from En Marche. Especially since the bill on separatism (the Palace is in the plural), which must be presented to the Council of Ministers “at the end of November or at the beginning of December”, then examined at first reading at the beginning of 2021, will include other sensitive points: the question of neutrality in public services, the financing of associations under the 1901 law, and the place of religion in education and sport. In short, that potentially explosive subjects.