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“An unthought of the five-year term”: Emmanuel Macron’s caution on family policy



What does Emmanuel Macron think of the family? As his five-year term comes to an end, the mystery remains almost whole. No one can say whether or not he is attached to certain major principles that forge French-style family policy. Throughout his five-year term, the president carefully avoided the theme, devoted no major speeches to it and carried out no structural reform. But the quasi-candidate for his own succession can also boast of having been able to preserve a form of balance.

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“It is quite certain that the family and family policy were not the main subjects of the five-year term. Above all, there was no global vision”, analyzes the sociologist Julien Damon. This was reflected in the very organization of governments: that of Édouard Philippe did not have a dedicated ministry; that of Jean Castex, a secretary of state, last in protocol order.

A divided majority

“Emmanuel Macron never received us, unlike his predecessors”, advances Marie-Andrée Blanc, president of the National Union of Family Associations (Unaf), as proof of the reluctance he has to display himself on these themes. The official nevertheless believes that, under her mandate, the families have been spared, and have even experienced for some “small advances, not always up to par, which have generally made life easier for young parents”.

This host of measures, certainly positive, remains cautious, perhaps because the president feels that his majority is very divided on the subject. On the one hand, the MoDem component, attached to a classic family policy, is chomping at the bit. Nathalie Elimas, Secretary of State responsible for priority education, believes, for example, that the “family policy is an unthought of the five-year term”. In May 2021, the High Commissioner for Planning, François Bayrou, proposed a “demographic pact” refocused on family policy to stem the decline in the birth rate. Without receiving a response.

Medically assisted reproduction for all among the advances

But the whole LREM group in Parliament does not share this analysis, far from it. Many elected officials claim a “progressivism” that is incompatible with the family seen as an element of conservatism. Among them, some think they have the president’s tacit support and urge him to share more of his personal convictions, which they consider more progressive and liberal than displayed.

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“Some of us are waiting for a great speech on the families of the 21stand century”, advances the deputy Coralie Dubost (LREM, Hérault). According to her, the majority “worked a lot to recognize all forms of parenthood”. The elected official does not hesitate to rank PMA for all among the great advances in family policy for the five-year term. For her, a second mandate could be an opportunity to open new major projects to “recognize blended families, the status of the step-parent, for example. But also rearm child protection to help all families who need it much more. »

Deputy Thomas Mesnier (LREM, Charente), general rapporteur of the Assembly’s social affairs committee, also believes that the majority has been able to respect Emmanuel Macron’s campaign commitments in 2017 in favor of the most modest families, which is, according to him, “the red thread of our action, with real work on single-parent families”.

Consensus, at the risk of minimal reforms

However, Emmanuel Macron is procrastinating. Why ? The former elected LREM Guillaume Chiche, author of a controversial parliamentary report on family policy at the start of the five-year term, argues that“Emmanuel Macron does not want to fracture society. He is extremely cautious on this type of sensitive subject, and believes that his role as President of the Republic is not to share his personal ideas on the matter, but to reach a consensus. » This method would have limits, regrets Guillaume Chiche, “since this can only contribute to minimal reforms and lose people”.

In the campaign that opens, is Emmanuel Macron willing to raise family policy in the order of his priorities? Spurred on by the candidacy of Valérie Pécresse, who placed it at the heart of her project, he is expected on the subject.

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Five-year measures

Maternity leave self-employed women and farmers have been aligned with that of employees.

The duration of paternity leave has been extended to 25 calendar days, compared to 11 previously.

The birth bonusthe payment of which had been postponed until 2and month of the child for budgetary reasons, is paid again on the 7and month of pregnancy.

Launch of a commission on the “first 1,000 days of a child’s life” and a communication campaign around this period from 4and months of pregnancy to the child’s 2 years, described as crucial for long-term health and development.

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