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Emmanuel Macron invokes history to make people forget the crisis

Special correspondent at Mont-Saint-Michel.

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Emmanuel Macron invokes history to make people forget the crisis

Special correspondent at Mont-Saint-Michel

Tour de France of appeasement, memorial stage. Five weeks before the end of the hundred days that Emmanuel Macron has given himself to pacify the country, here he is stopping in Normandy. At Mont-Saint-Michel precisely, a symbol of the "French spirit" of "resilience" and "resistance", an obligatory point of passage for any President of the Republic in search of height of view, historical depth, distance, also, with the ordinary vicissitudes of political life. The latter are pursuing Emmanuel Macron, who faces a new day of strikes and demonstrations against his pension reform on Tuesday.

On the outskirts of Mont-Saint-Michel, a few locals with knowledge of the presidential visit try to rally the monument to try to challenge it when it goes up to the abbey. It is well secured, however, like all the places that the President of the Republic has been surveying since the start of his tour of France. Here in Dunkirk, to boast about the reindustrialisation of the country; there in Versailles to rejoice in the enthusiasm of foreign investors for France; elsewhere in Montpellier to defend its projects for education.

Everywhere his opponents try to disrupt his visits. But the protest is weakening. “At the midpoint of the hundred days, the wind begins to turn. It is fraying in the Assembly, ”assures a close friend of the president. The Liot group failed to repeal the pension reform. “The maneuver does not crystallize support as frank as the rejection of the text was strong”, we observe in the entourage of the president. He himself is relatively optimistic. “Things are calmer than they have been,” he observes from the dam that regulates the Couenon to prevent the Mont from silting up. He came to observe the work.

In the surrounding Norman bocage, clusters of gendarmes appear here and there, looking for a shady spot to escape the sun. As for accessing Mont-Saint-Michel, the shuttle system that serves it guarantees control of visitors. A saucepan should not arise and disrupt the visit. Anyway, there are only tourists.

The reception is good, and Emmanuel Macron will be able to deploy his speech on "the permanence and resilience of France in the face of the control of the elements, the embellishment of nature and the transmission of our history", according to the words grandiloquent from the Élysée. The framework lends itself to it. Also the calendar. celebrates its millennium this year. “A place where everything that makes the French a people of conquerors and builders is displayed in a brilliant way, enthuses an adviser to the president. A place of transmission that attests to the ability of our people to adapt to times and the changes that go hand in hand.”

The message is not even encrypted. With this millennium, here is the opportunity or never to celebrate eternal France. And, through it, to address the right. Because if the place leads to elevation, the more basely political considerations are not far away either. If Emmanuel Macron wants to find room for maneuver in the National Assembly, he must go through LR, the only group able to bring him an absolute majority in the Hemicycle.

Since the beginning of his appeasement tour, he has multiplied the calls of the foot. With the immigration bill. With the plan to fight against social fraud. And now from the abbey of Mont-Saint-Michel when he praises the "combination of the rootedness and audacity of man, of nature and knowledge, of individual genius and fraternal humility of the collective, of work and contemplation, of men and of the sacred”. The roots of the country, in short. His identity.

Inevitably, these more or less leaning nods to the right create a stir. In the president's camp, many expect a quick reshuffle. Emmanuel Macron's regular remonstrances against Elisabeth Borne do not help matters. The majority lives under tension and the President of the Republic blows hot and cold. “What we wanted to create with the Prime Minister is not literature but lapping, he gets annoyed on the sidelines of his trip. Then we create soap bubbles and there is not even any foam.

Elisabeth Borne had returned the National Rally to the legacy of Philippe Pétain, Emmanuel Macron was annoyed by it, his opponents had accused him of complacency with regard to the far right. “I won two presidential campaigns against the far right, he recalls today. I fight their ideas in their roots and in their symptoms. His fight, therefore. And his greatest fear, too. That of seeing Marine Le Pen succeed him in 2027 when he will no longer be able to face him since the Constitution prohibits him from representing himself.

So the president is working on his legacy, the legacy he wants to leave to the country. And he talks about it in his speech from Mont-Saint-Michel, “a place of overcoming”. “Our identity is this politeness, this marriage of the genius of man and nature, this story of overcoming our own paradoxes where the human seeks its place between the temporal and the divine, the natural and the artificial, the singular and the collective. This is for Emmanuel Macron the teaching of the centuries and the lesson of history. In the immediate future, this requires an agreement with Éric Ciotti.

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