August 2, 2021

the executive forced to bury Emmanuel Macron’s promise

With a few details, the story was written in advance. Without an agreement with the Senate, constitutional revision in favor of the climate would in fact be impossible. In the middle of a questioning session with the government, the Prime Minister, Jean Castex, announced, Tuesday, July 6, the burial of the bill aiming to include in Article 1is of the Constitution the preservation of the environment and the fight against climate change. “This hand extended in favor of climate protection was not seized by the Senate. This vote unfortunately puts an end to the constitutional revision process ”, said the tenant of Matignon in front of deputies taken by surprise.

The day before, the Senate, dominated by the right, had rejected for the second time the wording of the text proposed by the National Assembly and resulting from the 149 proposals of the citizens’ convention for the climate. The use of the term “guarantee” was the main sticking point between the two chambers.

Read also Climate in the Constitution: semantic battle and blockage in the Senate

This statement by Mr. Castex therefore comes to close eight months of parliamentary debates during which the presidential majority and the senatorial right have mutually rejected the responsibility of a possible failure of the referendum. According to article 89 of the Constitution, the adoption of an identical text by the two chambers is indeed essential to access this popular consultation, ideally scheduled for the fall by the executive.

Political showdown

No question for the Elysee to recognize a failure of Emmanuel Macron in relation to the promises he made to the members of the citizens’ convention for the climate in June 2020, already irritated that the executive has not taken up all their proposals “Without filter”, as he had initially undertaken to do. To hear the entourage of the head of state, it is the attitude of the Senate – and only it – which pushed Mr. Macron to give up this project. “Given the Senate’s repeated stance of immobility, there was not much else to do,” considers an adviser to the Head of State, presenting this government decline as inevitable. “The President of the Republic is not accountable for the obstruction of the Senate”, press the rapporteur (La République en Marche, LRM) of the bill, Pieyre-Alexandre Anglade.

Read also: What happened to the proposals of the climate convention, which Emmanuel Macron had committed to take up “without filter”?

Torn between its desire to respect to the letter this commitment to the Convention members and that of finding a consensus with the Senate, the majority attempted a final modification of the reform project at second reading. In vain. The president of the LRM group in the National Assembly, Christophe Castaner, had resigned himself to launching “An appeal to the President of the Senate, Gérard Larcher, and to all the senators”. “Far from political games, do what is expected by the French”, he wrote in his letter. The argument, well run, which consists in denouncing « l’obstruction » of the senatorial majority is also used on the side of Matignon, where it is explained to have decided to interrupt the negotiations so as not to be forced to weaken the initial ambition of Mr. Macron.

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