Emmanuel Macron during his presidential campaign shared his thoughts on the most important problems which concern France, Europe and the rest of the world. Influenced by French Christian philosopher and theologian Paul Ricoeur then young candidate and now President revealed that his ideas coincide with the phenomenology of his great mentor.
Refugees: “We are talking about women and men who have taken all the risks, who have fled their country because they are under political risk and are seeking freedom. We must welcome them.
Jean Fontanieu, secretary general of the Protestant Foundation for Charity (FEP): What are your plans for resolving of a problem of double failure of of the state that is the lack of anticipation of the fate of people on the streets (accommodation in hotels costs far more than a real sustainable accommodation policy would cost) and the failure to honor the word given regarding the reception of refugees?
You are right regarding the first part of the question. There has been a tremendous influx of emergency housing because of lack of coordination. The requisitioning of the hotels, including the duration, does not regulate anything. Emergency hotel accommodation costs just over € 1 billion when sustainable accommodation requires an investment of less than € 200 million. We need to create 50,000 places for sustainable shelters, which can be done in two years, for a one-third lower investment of the hotels and other institutions.
It is also necessary to establish pensions for families for the daily care of people lacking social or psychological autonomy. The question then arises regarding the people who are in the intermediate stage, whose fate depends on public policies. Finally, we have to face the problem of the existence of slums of Roma. And here I believe in the work done by the associations.
The same is true of the refugee issue. France has committed itself to receiving 30,000 people. If I wanted to be sarcastic, I would say that we do not have so many problems with refugees because they do not want to come to France. They know which countries have employment prospects. So it is no coincidence that they want to leave for Germany, Austria, Sweden and ask to join Britain.
In France, the reception of refugees gave rise to an unworthy political debate. I have always said that we have to welcome refugees, and distinguish them from other migrants, otherwise we will no longer respect our values. I will always fight fiercely against jihadist totalitarianism, a mortifying madness that threatens today several continents, but if it means to abandon our values, where is a common good?
We are talking about women and men who have taken all the risks, who have fled their country because they are under political risk and are seeking freedom. We must welcome them.
If we fail to do so as planned, this will be due in the first place to the fact that the European mechanism is failing. But this also will be a result of the debates provoked by xenophobic activists, who have envenomed public life.
When associations or individuals have made a generous commitment, the reception of refugees has been exemplary. We must also work with third countries where the core of the refugee problem is concentrated: Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey.
The mistake of Europe was not to anticipate the crisis and to avoid a constructive dialogue with these three countries. Let us remember that Lebanon, which has five million inhabitants, has had to receive on its soil a million and a half Syrian refugees. This is a considerable proportion that deserves consideration. Today, we treat asylum applications for entry into the Schengen zone, which are called “hot spots”, which is ineffective and creates pressure on the host countries. It would be better to coordinate our efforts at European level.
Islam: If I did not recognize this part of transcendence in dialogue with religions, I would accept to belittle our fellow men to the extreme solitude of everyday life.
Emmanuel Macron was interviewed by Philippe Gaudin, Chairman of the FPF’s Committee on Islamic Relations, expressed his views on secularism and Islam at the end of February 2017.
Philippe Gaudin, President of the Commission for Relations with Islam of the Protestant Federation of France: France in 2017 does not resemble France in 1905. Between those who support a barricaded secularism, hostile to religions, and those who Are content with a reminder of the law, where do you stand? Would you be prepared to pursue a vigorous public policy by supporting the initiatives of the Foundation for Islam in France, which is to say that the situation is new and that new projects have to be implemented?
I try to keep this ridge path, which consists of refusal to make secularism a something that excludes, or which aims to build a republican religion, without giving up anything. In fact, our model of secularism is broken. A monotheism that is very present in us has developed with other principles, other cultures and cultural practices, and resulted in strong tensions.
I am not in favor of a transformation of our secularism. But I want to put these compromises to en end that have been made for thirty years by elected representatives of all sides, anxious to preserve peace. This permisiveness strengthened the role and influence of preachers indifferent to the laws of the Republic. Dismantling associations that are hiding behind the religious structures and do not respect our laws is possible. It is also possible, through the state of emergency, to close the places where they meet. It seems to me important that the legislation be enacted so that we can continue to close places of worship without introducing the state of emergency.
The Republic must also recover these territories. The tensions that arise in certain districts also result from the abandonment of them by the Republic. When the school collapsed, when the promise of a progress for everyone disappeared, when the house arrest was part of the daily life, the most radical religious forces ascended. Nowadays, in some quarters, religion has become a political and cultural counterproject. The emergence of what is often called communitarianism – a word a bit catchy – is nothing but a political counterculture. The children of those who, in their country of origin, had fought against religious radicalism and for emancipation, wanted to wear the niqab. Why? Because they think that this Republic is not for them.
The Republic must affirm a political project enabling everyone to exercise his religion, in autonomy of conscience. Many of our fellow citizens are mistaken thinking that the law of 1905 establishes a society, which must be secular. This is not true. It is the state, which is secular that guarantees the free and autonomous exercise of the individual convictions of conscience, and therefore of an adherence to a religion.
As a politician, I do not promise either happiness or transcendence because it would be madness, a totalitarian and mortifying project. If I did not recognize this part of transcendence in dialogue with religions, I would accept to belittle our fellow men to the extreme solitude of everyday life. In this context, I am entirely in favor of entrusting the Foundation for the Islam of France with the task of making modern Islam live in our contemporary society. This also implies that France maintains vigorous dialogue with certain countries. I am thinking in particular of Saudi Arabia, since it encourages the most retrograde forms of Wahhabism to spread throughout the world.
Migration: Contrary to what some are saying, we are not facing a wave of immigration today
Present for the first meeting between the Protestants and the presidential candidates at the end of February, Emmanuel Macron replied to La Cimade on issues of migration policy.
Genevieve Jacques, President of the Cimade: What message do you intend to address on migration policy issues? What policy do you intend to promote to secure the rights of foreign people living in France and to contribute to their contribution to the life of our pluralistic society?
You have to look at the facts. Contrary to what some are saying, we are not facing a wave of immigration today. Just over 200,000 residence permits were granted last year, and it is not a tsunami that we can not stop.
Why there is such a debate on immigration? Because it is the source of both confusion and misunderstanding, a form of anxiety or, as some thinkers would say, cultural insecurity. The roots of this feeling lie in the question of integration, not in the fact of immigration.
The components of this migratory movement are many. They are, in the first place, the result of family reunification. This practice remains marginal and must be preserved, unlike, once again, what many political leaders (not just those on the extreme right) are calling for, which would take us to reject both our values and our European commitments, including the European Convention on Human Rights.
These migratory movements also include students and asylum-seekers, whose numbers have increased slightly, but in proportions that are not comparable to what we see in Europe. The subject of immigration should therefore not worry the French population.
Why then there is such a debate? Because it is the source of both confusions, misunderstandings, a form of anxiety or, as some thinkers would say, cultural insecurity. But the roots of such a feeling lie in the question of integration, not in the fact of immigration. To clarify on this issue, we must remember that immigration is part of the world in which we live. All democracies today know this reality.
These movements will increase because geopolitical uncertainties and climatic destabilization will continue to affect regions that are situated in close proximity to us. We must not lie to our fellow citizens: immigration is not something we could divest ourselves. In addition, immigration is an economic, cultural and social opportunity. In all theories of growth, it is one of the positive determinants, but provided that one knows how to utilize it. When we know how to integrate them, to train them, women and men will renew our society, give it a new impetus, the impulses of innovation.
Successful democracies enjoy greater growth than ours. But the question of integration remains a problem in France. We can no longer dismiss mistrust of migrants.
Why? First of all because we no longer have the same growth: the end of the thirty glorious years has seized a model that was functioning thanks to continuous growth and a progression of the middle classes.
Secondly, because the migratory phenomenon has changed: we have welcomed populations from the Maghreb, sub-Saharan Africa, whose cultures or religion were farther from our own than when they were migrants from Europe. East or southern Europe. In a way, in those earlier periods the integration process of migrants to greater society was simpler. Finally, we have concentrated all the difficulties, cultural, economic and social in the same neighborhoods.
If we are to overcome the problem, we must ensure economic and social mobility, a fundamental element of the emancipation of citizens. Today, we assign residence to those who arrive at our house.
How to introduce these changes? We need a stronger urban regeneration. It has already noticeable in some neighborhoods, when it combines social mix, an educational policy of positive discrimination. In neighborhoods where difficulties are concentrated, the model no longer works because the challenges are not the same.
That is why I have proposed to halve the number of students per class in what are known as “Priority Education Networks” (EPR or EPR). Where many parents do not master the French language, and where children do not have the same interactions with adults, there is a need more individualized teaching and stronger pedagogical prevention.
Positive discrimination in the field of employment must then be encouraged. I want to help each person to integrate, to fight discriminatory practices in companies, including what is called “testing”.
On the other hand, I do not believe in quota policies, because we do not know how to enforce them. What can be done if we would decide tomorrow to have a quota of Malians or Senegalese?
Economy: “We must support participatory and deliberative forms of collective action. Our fellow citizens seek to be co-producers in the transforming companies.”
Emmanuel Macron answered Luc Maroni, deputy mayor of Lens and president of Coop Coop Cooperative, on innovation and social and solidarity economy.
Luc Maroni, Deputy Mayor of Lens, President of the cooperative Coop connexion: The social and solidarity economy (SSE) helps to stimulate but also to secure innovation. How would you support it?
We must distinguish between traditional cooperatives, mutualist forms that seek to share production tools and their aims in a more egalitarian way, and structures that create productivity in areas threatened with abandonment. French law and European law have strengthened the legal position of these institutions by providing opportunities for development. Today, I believe that it is up to the actors to seize the opportunities. Technological innovation is coupled with an extremely strong social innovation which, nevertheless, is struggling to flourish in classical forms because labor law is still stereotyped. We must support participatory and deliberative forms of collective action. Our fellow citizens seek to be co-producers in the transforming companies.
I want to encourage territorial contracts, an idea promoted by Pascal Canfin, Director General of WWF and Laurent Berger, Secretary General of the CFDT. The system is in a state of crisis when the actors defend the situation acquired by fear of what may happen. We need to encourage transitions by conditioning public money , to allow local actors to carry out projects and to give rise to new forms of development.
I am also in favor of the teaching of economics and sociology in the secondary cycle. As it is important to explain the rules of the market economy, which correspond to the rules of good understanding of the world today, it is important to teach the rules of the social and solidarity economy. The school must give the card and the compass to the students. If one decides in the lycee not to teach the grammar economics, one manufactures incomplete students.