Mayor (LR), Saint-Étienne, Gaël Perdriau is a member of the bureau of the Association of mayors of France (AMF) which hold its annual conference, currently porte de Versailles in Paris. With his colleagues, he was received by Emmanuel Macron at the Elysée palace yesterday evening, Wednesday 21 November. He tells us about the background of this meeting : if Emmanuel Macron seems to want to reconcile with elected officials who feel ill-treated, its proposals remain unclear.
The Point : Have you been convinced by the president of the Republic ?
Gaël Perdriau is the mayor LR of Saint-Étienne.
© JACQUES DEMARTHON AFPGaël Perdriau : The meeting at work had the merit to exist. It was the first time that the office of the MFA was received by the current president of the Republic. But, after he refused to come and talk to our congress as it had started, it caused this meeting to avoid the last thin thread that connects the president of the Republic to the community is upset. Emmanuel Macron has tried to hang up the pieces. On the form, he listened, each of them able to speak. But on the bottom, we are left with more questions than we had at the beginning of the interview. The president will not have a second chance. He has sent a letter of four pages to the 36 000 mayors yesterday morning. If you remove the paragraphs that serve to move us from the ointment in the back, on the bottom, I noted several points of interrogation.
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What are they ?
first, Emmanuel Macron is proposing to return to the law Our, to make the tour of the prefects to go back to the grievances, and then enroll in a law. On principle, this evaluation of public policies is a good thing. But how does one proceed in practice ? Then, he returns to the subject of the tax by repeating that its removal would be offset to the euro close. But how will he take ? The additional withdrawals under the guise of the energy transition have put the yellow Vests on the street representing a total of 4 billion euros. The housing tax in a full year, it is 26 billion euros, six times more ! So, where will we take them ? By creating an additional tax ? A new tax ? By digging even more the deficit of the State ? I know that Emmanuel Macron is a veteran of the genre, because every year he has increased the deficit by 20 billion euros. And the break with the mayors, as with the yellow Vests, comes from there : we are asked for sacrifices, what the communities have achieved to the tune of $ 13 billion, and the French on the price of a loss of purchasing power of $ 4.5 billion. And in two years of presidency, the State has increased its deficit by 60 billion euros ! Look for the error ! The day Emmanuel Macron will apply to himself what he demands of others, we will be better able to hear…
You do a bit of politicking, no ?
Not at all, it is a matter of substance. The public deficit manifestations that are very real. The consequence is that, in our communities, we delete contracts helped to nurseries, social centers, entertainment,… public services are closed. It is key to our social cohesion. I said to Emmanuel Macron. But he answers : this effort will not be funded by taxes, taxes, worsening the deficit, but savings on the State budget. How can it be credible on this topic, since this budget has increased ? I’ll plug my ticket that the removal of the property tax will be funded by the budget deficit.
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At the Elysée palace, you put the emphasis also on another explosive issue…
Yes, the differentiation region that the president proposed in his letter reserving the right to adapt the nature of the community-to-measure according to the territory to manage. I recalls that article 72 of the Constitution enables each community to experience this kind of things, in the limits of time and space. The presidency proposal is inconsistent with the article 1 of the Constitution, which lays down the principle that the Republic is one and indivisible. Emmanuel Macron wants to impose a federal system like in Germany and in the United States ? I asked him, he has not responded, nor during our meeting in a small committee or in his speech to the mayors. All he did was repeat what he had written.
there is a discrepancy between the local elected officials, the slingers on one side, and on the other those who advocate more dialogue with the central power ?
No. There are those who hope for personal gain and those who defend the general interest. But we don’t have blinders on ! When Jean-Michel Blanquer proposes the duplication of the classes of CP, or the compulsory schooling from the age of 3 years, these are good decisions. But in the implementation, which supports financially ? Our commons, and they alone ! And that is while the State imposes a contractual financial which prevents us to exceed 1.2% of operating expenses. As to the lowering of the age of the school, he reignites the war of public-private. It is as well on all subjects. A lot of decisions going in the right direction, but the State is making fun of the conditions of implementation.
You still feel as much despised as a local elected representative ?
Yes. But, yesterday evening, I felt that Emmanuel Macron put the clocks back to zero and wanted to leave on good foundations. I leave him, therefore, the benefit of the doubt. The hand is stretched out, I entered. Now we are still waiting for actions. For example, in Saint-Etienne, the continuity republican would have wanted the government signs the contract with the previous one on the A45. This new highway which will connect Saint-Étienne to Lyon is a project that has been initiated by the State, it has been declared a public utility in 2007, the call for tenders has been launched, it remains only to sign the contract. And it is blocked by a political decision, that person explains. I met yesterday the minister of Transport Elizabeth Terminal, I was accused of not signing this contract, she was embarrassed. I told him that the State was evidence of a behavior contemptuous. We met three or four times, the minister herself acknowledged that it was important to connect the first and the second city of the second region of France. And we see nothing coming ! Other topic : the new prison which was to be built at Saint-Étienne, the cost of which – $ 70 million – was budgeted, and from which one learns one morning in the newspaper that the government has abandoned. If this is not contempt…
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And with Édouard Philippe, how is it going ?
I have better relationships with Emmanuel Macron. We continue to see, it regularly brings together a group of mayors in a dialogue, a very frank and constructive. He has the desire to know the concerns of our citizens and to assess how perceived government decisions. When I listen to the two heads of the executive, I have the feeling that one, Emmanuel Macron, is in a bubble, that it is not in contact with the realities while the other, Edward, Philippe, is a measure more of what we live, and we will understand better. It is probably for this reason that it is he who is sent to the fire this afternoon in front of us.
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