Special Envoy to Guidel (Morbihan)
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Édouard Philippe agrees: on the stages of political meetings, talking about the housing crisis does not raise the crowds. To talk about it "is not to expose oneself to considerable interest," he admits. On Saturday, invited by his centrist ally François Bayrou to the return of the Democratic Movement (MoDem), the former prime minister spent almost all of his speech warning against a "social bomb" and "urban".
He sees it as "one of the elements of the democratic crisis we are experiencing". A clear warning to the executive, which tries to reconcile ecological ambition and preservation of the purchasing power of the French. A message, too, sent to the middle and popular classes to whom he wants to address in view of the presidential election of 2027.
From the tribune of Guidel (Morbihan), the president of Horizons was concerned about the "vice of high rents" and the situation of "citizens excluded from property". "Without inheritance", "we can not access an apartment in a big city", he insisted, in front of François Bayrou and Stéphane Séjourné, the boss of the presidential party Renaissance.
In his sights: the "construction crisis", against a backdrop of soaring commodity prices; the "demand crisis", notably caused by rising borrowing rates; and difficulties in "accessing the rental market". "We are making the possibility of renting accommodation more and more complicated," he regretted, pointing to the "far too perverse effects" of Airbnb-type rentals in "tense areas". It is necessary to "avoid the complete eviction of our fellow citizens from the city centers," he said.
The mayor of Le Havre (Seine-Maritime) has in particular spoken out against the ban on renting the most energy-intensive housing. "We are creating a dead end for the most modest," which is "unlikely to pass through our population," he said. Word of a prime minister at the head of the government during the crisis of the "yellow vests".
In detail, the law provides for the gradual end of the rental of "thermal sieves" - from 1 January 2023 for so-called "G+" housing until 2034 for so-called "E" housing. This measure is "madness", had already declared Édouard Philippe in January in Le Point. On Monday, it was the Minister of the Economy, Bruno Le Maire, who tense part of the presidential camp by half-opening the door to its postponement.
Édouard Philippe also knows that the subject divides the supporters of a social line and ecologists: "We must de-stress the rental market without giving anything to the ecological ambition that is ours, which is absolutely imperative. But we can't see this topic coming fast. He admitted that this device of the Climate and Resilience law was voted under the "previous majority" - but in 2021, after its passage to Matignon...
Anxious to avoid concretization, Édouard Philippe also called for "renovating rather than building", "densifying rather than spreading". A way to support the "zero net artificialization" plan of soils that the government defends despite reluctance. A little earlier, Saturday, the president (The Republicans) of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, Laurent Wauquiez, castigated a law "ruralicide" and announced "withdraw" from the device.
More broadly, Édouard Philippe fears a tense social climate. He wants to "loosen the jaws" of "the vice of inflation, food that costs more, electricity that costs more, a life that costs more". The "problem" is "political, social, economic, human", and even "democratic", to hear it: "There is no democracy that survives an erosion of the purchasing power of the middle classes". In echo, François Bayrou approved this message, repeating at the microphone one of his priorities: "govern with the people". "If we can't do that, then I believe democracy won't resist it."
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In issuing this warning, Édouard Philippe once again took care to draw the thread of the "social question". The former Juppeist does not want to lock himself into the image of the supporter of postponing the retirement age. He also supported behind the scenes, this summer, the political offensive of his Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, holding a social line in the Macron camp. Then, during his return speech in Angers (Maine-et-Loire), on September 15, he called on his Horizons party to "yield nothing" to Marine Le Pen "in terms of defending the popular classes".
As an aside, on the lawns of the Belambra Clubs complex, the deputy (MoDem) Jean-Louis Bourlanges welcomes that voices from his camp evoke the "social question" against the National Rally (RN). "The whole energy transition policy is a machine to explode," he warns. Bardella and Le Pen understood this very well. All this is very dangerous."