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François Bayrou, discharged from ecological planning


The view may be splendid, from his vast office overlooking the Seine and the Eiffel Tower, François Bayrou seems somewhat helpless. He moves from a long bare table to his office without files, next to a bookcase stocked with books “non-personal” – apart from an elegant edition of Preparatory work for the Constitution of the Ve Republic. A little over two years after settling in this mansion, a stone’s throw from the Invalides and the National Assembly, the High Commission for Planning is struggling to find its place in the institutional landscape. “The plan is responsible for the long term, I have no doubt that the government will seize it”however clings to the 71-year-old centrist, who prefers to see it as a structural difficulty since Jean Monnet, the first to bear this title, in 1946.

In this voluntary function, François Bayrou wants to be a pioneer of ideas – such as increasing French organic production or relocating the crisps industry. And takes his trouble patiently: “Christopher Columbus discovers America. And then nothing happens… it takes centuries before we realize that there is a New World. » The High Commissioner for Planning knows, however, that he has been amputated from his raison d’être in the adventure of the 21e century: ecology.

In the mission letter of September 2020, the President of the Republic mentioned “the great ecological transition” among the upheavals justifying the creation of this body. The head of state then charged the mayor of Pau with“shed light on the collective choices that the nation will have to make to maintain or rebuild its sovereignty and European autonomy” in the face of demographic, environmental, technological and productive transformations.

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Attached to Matignon

From the appointment of Elisabeth Borne, first minister in charge of ecological planning, the president of the MoDem had expressed his bad mood. This government architecture “requires a redefinition of things”, he had publicly claimed. The Elysée has since decided. While the High Commission for Planning is attached to Matignon, those close to Elisabeth Borne say they do without the services of François Bayrou in this area, now supplanted by the General Secretariat for Ecological Planning (SGPE), entrusted to the mining engineer Antoine Pellion, ecology super-advisor at Matignon. “They have their own plan, it’s separate. We are not going to make duplicates”annoys the former Minister of Justice.

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