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Emmanuel Macron’s “Great Debate” is over - now it’s time to draw conclusions

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By Euronews
Emmanuel Macron’s “Great Debate” is over - now it’s time to draw conclusions

Faced with the "yellow vest" protest movement over standards of living, French President Emmanuel Macron launched "Le grand débat" - a national debate on the issues facing France. That consultation period comes to an end on Friday - but the big question now is: "What conclusions can be drawn?"

For Luc Rouban, research director at the CNRS, the great debate was a response to an urgent political situation.

“Emmanuel Macron needed to gain time, calm things down and regain control of the situation,” he said. “He had to regain popularity and try to reverse a situation that was taking him towards a dissolution of the National Assembly which would have been a political disaster.”

Farmer Alexa Olagnon confronted Macron during one debate to accuse him of strong-armed police tactics:

“You said earlier," she told the President. "You were taking the necessary precautions to protect militants and activists. But when you see the number of preventive arrests - whether they’re greens or yellow vests or whatever - I’m not sure this is the case."

Afterwards she explained: “I came here to remind everyone that this debate originated from a powerful social movement that is ongoing and today faces an unprecedented and unjustifiable repression.”

By the time he arrived for one of the last sessions of the debate in the south of France, the French president had enjoyed a spectacular resurgence in the polls and portrayed the image of someone who had found the answer.

The question for Macron now, is what to do with the results of the consultation.

“The risk is that either he either proposes something far below the people’s expectations,” says Mr. Rouban. “Or he finds himself in a position where he’s forced to carry out a broad constitutional reform that could threaten him as President as well as his party. “

Watch Anelise Borges’ report for Good Morning Europe in the video player above.