Emmanuel Macron saves his “last bullet” and launches a political bet that he hopes to capitalize on by delaying a flurry of scientific and media consensus before a possible rescheduling.
The sword of Damocles remains hanging over the French after Jean Castex announced on Friday evening that the screw would be turned in a rather moderate manner: closing the borders with countries outside the European Union and curtains in the large non-food shopping centers.
A moderation that contrasts with the many calls by scientists for a third lockdown in the country, as there is a risk that more contagious variants of the coronavirus will spread. And that goes in the opposite direction, both from the press, which is inundated with the echoes of an impending recruitment, and from the executive itself, which on Wednesday, in the voice of its spokesman Gabriel Attal, hypothesized a “very tight detention” .
According to Emmanuel Macron’s entourage, “everything is being done to avoid reconnection, the economic, social and psychological consequences of which we know.”
The head of state believed, according to an executive adviser, that there was still “room for maneuver” on health and that it should be exploited, while adherence to severe restrictions appeared to result in polls that were weaker than in March and October.
Mr Macron, who gave the students a little oxygen ten days ago by allowing them to return face-to-face one day a week, also took into account the psychological consequences of the crisis, which were becoming increasingly important in the equation. “It is the return of politics, but on a scientific and social basis,” summarizes a source within the executive branch.
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According to a government source, a Scientific Council opinion presented to the Defense Council on Friday has underscored that there is still hope of containing the now high spread of the virus. Last Sunday, the President of this Scientific Council, Jean-François Delfraissy, also considered an “urgent” restriction, before estimating on Tuesday that we were “not anywhere near a week”.
“There are reasonable doubts about” the curve because of variations: will it be as strong “as in the UK or Portugal, two countries that have been hit hard but not as restrictive as France is, she wonders Government source. Before we add, “Here we see that the decision is deeply political. We have to show the French that we have studied all the scenarios. “
“Procrastination brings us to the wall”
“The idea is therefore to give an umpteenth dose of brakes that will enable you to get through this mousehole,” says an executive adviser, who is aware, however, that Mr. Macron was playing his “last bullet”.
“I trust us. The hours we live in are crucial. Let’s do everything together to contain the epidemic, ”said Emmanuel Macron on Twitter on Saturday.
After all, to what extent would the head of state’s credibility be damaged if compliance were finally resolved in a week?
Some of the opposition, to whom Prime Minister Jean Castex presented very alarming epidemic projections at the end of the week, therefore rushed into this loophole, such as the head of the socialist senators Patrick Kanner, and affirmed that “delay brings us into the wall”. .
“For Emmanuel Macron, the danger is that if we are still in detention we will feel late and we would then re-examine the length of the sentence by saying, ‘Ah, if we can Week before. ‘ analyzes Emmanuel Rivière, France director of Kantar, citing “the example of Boris Johnson in the UK”, where the population still complains that they took action late in the spring.
For his part, National Secretary for Europe Ecology – The Greens Julien Bayou opened another front, believing the government had chosen “economy over health”.
As for the general secretary of the CFDT, Laurent Berger, he noted on France Inter on Saturday that for the French, “the uncertainty, the inability to project” remained intact and burdensome. According to a Harris interactive poll on Saturday, 52% qualify as a “bad thing” for the decision to postpone another containment.