in the Prime Minister’s entourage, we praise the “Attal method”, despite some “disagreements”

The majority unions called for the suspension of blockades in France, but promised to remain vigilant about the application of new measures. Behind the scenes, we congratulate ourselves on a “victory”.



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Press conference by Gabriel Attal, February 1, 2024, in Matignon.  (YOAN VALAT / MAXPPP)

They break camp. Farmers followed the slogan of the FNSEA and Young Farmers, the majority unions, to lift the blockages after a series of government concessions, but some want to continue the movement. In places, the roads became clear on Thursday February 1, while others are still in place.

If the anger of the farmers seems to be calming down, in the wake of a third round of announcements from Prime Minister Gabriel Attal, Matignon quickly “congratulated that the new phase of mobilization is a phase of dialogue”. But behind the scenes, some do not hesitate to speak of victory in this first crisis faced by the new Prime Minister. If Matignon tries to have a modest triumph, around Gabriel Attal, the lifting of the blockages is well experienced as a success, above all, of the “method“Attal, whose merits his advisors praise:”Responsiveness, dialogue, transparency: its DNA already at National Education and at Bercy“, we specify.

“Not a sword of Damocles hanging over our heads”

After three bursts of announcements, three weeks in office, mired in an endless crisis and “dozens of hours” of meetings with representative organizations, it is finally with the FNSEA and the Young Farmers, these two powerful unions , which Gabriel Attal topped. They are “identified actors, the thread of dialogue has never been broken“, testifies a relative.

In return for this lifting of blockages, farmers expect to “first results” before the Agricultural Show, which opens on February 24, as well as European measures and the adoption of the agricultural orientation law before the month of June. The president of the FNSEA, Friday February 2, the ‘also assures on BFMTV – RMC: “they will set the table again“, if the measures are only one”flash in the pan“.”The government is committed to providing us with a certain number of answers, in particular with a bill. In this bill, we want to see things on the installation, on the transfer of farms. We want to see things about the competitiveness of our farms because price is a central subject (…) And finally, we want to see things about food sovereignty.“, listed Arnaud Rousseau. “We are giving ourselves until June to have a definitive law because we know that a law cannot be done in two weeks.“, he stressed.

It’s not a sword of Damocles hanging over our heads“, put the Prime Minister’s entourage into perspective on Thursday, but “rather a road map”. “Until then, the tractors return to their farms“, translated by a leading minister, which is enough to leave the impression of a successful exit from the crisis and thus offer a first medal to the new Prime Minister’s hunting list.

“We don’t cross a red line”

Except that this political victory necessarily has a cost. First, a cost for public finances: 400 million euros, not counting the partial reimbursement of the tax on non-road diesel. A heresy at a time of the end of “whatever it takes” and even though Bruno Le Maire is preparing, according to information from franceinfo, a new media offensive on the subject. Not at all defends the executive, for whom it is “not an additional expense, but an investment in the future“.

And then, there is also a political cost: the suspension of the Écophyto plan arouses the anger of environmental associations and climate defense NGOs. “In the government, not everyone agreed“, squeaks an advisor, to the point of giving credence to the idea that Gabriel Attal would have gone it alone a little too quickly. But for Matignon, “the direction is always the same” : there is no question of calling into question the importance of drastically reducing the use of pesticides. “We don’t cross a red line“, assures a relative. Emmanuel Macron had promised, before being re-elected, that the five-year term would be ecological or it would not be.

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