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Attal justifies his identity and promises to regain “French and European sovereignty” in his debut as prime minister in the National Assembly

Attal justifies his identity and promises to regain “French and European sovereignty” in his debut as prime minister in the National Assembly

The political day in France was marked by the first intervention in the National Assembly as Prime Minister of Gabriel Attalappointed three weeks ago by Emmanuel Macron replace the technocrat Elisabeth Borne. The new tenant of Matignon explained the government’s plans to MPs. He spoke about health and euthanasia, education, the environment, employment and wages, bureaucracy, national identity and France’s role in Europe. And of course agriculture. And Attal drew up his roadmap in a context particularly fueled by protests in the agricultural sector.

In recent hours, demonstrators have surrounded Paris, demanding financial aid, special tariffs for electricity and fuel, a simplification of administrative procedures and better conditions of competition with foreign producers. The head of the executive branch tried last Friday to calm discontent by announcing a series of measures aimed at preventing the crisis from taking on similar undertones to the Yellow Vests outbreak in 2018; Measures ranging from urgent direct aid to significantly simplifying administrative obstacles to monitoring compliance with the egalim law, which prohibits large stores from selling below cost, unbalancing the food chain and in many cases harms producers.

In addition, Attal ratified France’s refusal to sign the Mercosur agreement between the European Union and the countries of Latin America, an act that the French industry sees as a major market disadvantage since it has to compete with products that are not subject to the strict rules Brussels. In this sense, the Prime Minister promised “an exemption for French agriculture”. From March next year, Attal announced, “the aid from the CAP (Common Agricultural Policy, the main regulatory instrument of the sector in the hands of the European Commission) will be paid into farmers’ bank accounts.” In any case, the former Education Minister admitted that his government “The agricultural crisis will not be solved in a few days”.

Attal has the full support of Macron, who wants to reshape his second five-year term in office after the pension crisis and unrest following the murder of young Nahel. The scope for this is limited. There are only a few months left until the European elections, in which the extreme right is running Marine Le Penwho introduces his student as the front runner Jordan BardellaThe 28-year-old president of National Regrouping (RN) is the favorite in the race. Attal dedicated a few words to this section, echoing Le Pen’s sentence: “I say that those who favor ending the application of the Treaties are in favor of a covert Frexit that would weaken France.” And he added: “Less Europe means less power for France (…) Who were the first supporters of Brexit in France? Who gave the name “Rue du Brexit” to the streets of the cities he drives through, who openly posed as the leader of the Brexit camp? This is a national regrouping.

The prime minister, who spoke for more than an hour to list his projects, was more political than his predecessor. And he emphasized his identity and that of the country: “Being French in 2024 means being able to be prime minister in a country that ten years ago was torn apart by marriage for everyone and at the same time openly accepting one’s own homosexuality.” In all of this I see proof that our country is on the move. Proof that mentalities are changing. Proof that we don’t have to surrender to fate. “Therefore, I have only one thing to say to our fellow citizens, regardless of their skin color, their origin, their place of residence or their faith.” “France is your country and in France everything is possible,” he concluded. “Yes, we are proud to be French and with you I want to make that French pride shine.”

After finishing his speech, which Le Pen described as a “catalog, a series of different and varied promises”, Attal did not undergo a confidence vote because there was a risk that it would be rejected as planned. In fact, the Left Bloc submitted a motion of no confidence a few minutes before the speech began. On the other hand, the traditional Republican right has not revealed whether or not it will support Attal’s legislative agenda.

The parliamentary equation has not changed. The Macronist bloc still does not have an absolute majority in the Assembly, a premise demonstrated with the adoption of the immigration law, passed thanks to the votes of the right and the far right. However, last week the Constitutional Council repealed 40% of the legislative package’s provisions because it deemed it unconstitutional. Attal optimistically extended his hand to the opposition. “My door will always be open,” he emphasized.

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