France’s new government will prioritise work on purchasing power, health, and the climate as the government said it wants to tackle these “emergencies” in the coming weeks, Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne said on Friday (27 May). EURACTIV France reports.
This was announced during a government meeting at the prime minister’s office, known as Matignon.
In line with the recommendations set out by President Emmanuel Macron, the government will have to follow a method based on “consultation, co-construction, and results,” Borne explained, adding that she wanted to give a “common framework” to the actions of each minister.
However, with the so-called “reserve period” preventing government officials from intervening or giving their opinion on candidates ahead of the legislative elections on 12 and 19 June, the government cannot reveal as much as it may have wanted to.
Borne has thus made “responding to the emergencies of the French,” the key focus of her government’s strategy.
To kick things off, Borne’s government will submit “emergency laws for purchasing power” to the National Assembly as soon as it resumes work with its newly elected members on 28 June.
Furthermore, the new prime minister will likely call for an extraordinary session to be held in parliament even though a summer recess is usually foreseen.
In health, the government’s focus will be dealing with healthcare staff shortages in hospitals and nursing homes, where the situation has become so critical that many healthcare services, particularly emergency services, have already been shut down. Many more are at risk of closure this summer.
Another matter of urgency, according to the new government, is the climate, as “all ministries must mobilise to face the climate challenge and must participate in ecological planning,” Borne added.
On top of climate action being a matter for all ministers to grapple with, Borne decided to set up a ‘super climate ministry’, with Amélie de Montchalin as ecological transition minister and Agnès Pannier-Runacher as energy transition minister.
Borne herself will be “in charge of ecological planning” – a first for France.
‘Speed, efficiency, results’
Pension reform, another hot topic in France, will be addressed after the legislative elections in June.
Borne and the newly appointed Labour Minister Olivier Dussopt have already started consultations with the unions, which unanimously oppose raising the legal retirement age from 62 to 65, as proposed by Macron. Borne recently backed Macron’s pension reform plans, saying that while retirement at 65 “is not a totem,” reform remains “essential”.
With pension reform being such a thorny issue in France, it is not surprising that the new government decided not to have it as part of what it has labelled ’emergencies’.
[Edited by Zoran Radosavljevic]