Jean-François Cope: "Laurent Wauquiez is insincere"

It is probably candidate of the right to the mayor of Paris in 2020. It is not the case. Jean-Francois Cope has little inclination to mingle with "crocodiles," as he calls them, Parisian politics. No, Jacques Chirac & # 39; s former Minister of Budget is committed to his Meaux mandate. National politics? He looked at it again and again, especially the new actors. The first year of the five-year period of Emmanuel Macron convinced him, but he has reservations about leaving mayors or the lack of politics in the neighborhoods. In his eyes, "the new world" that fishes through "arrogance", but it is up to Laurent Wauquiez – who makes his political return to Sunday on Mount Mezenc – he shoots his arrows the most poisoned. He blames the president of the republicans for a "flashy flirtation" with the national meeting. Interview with Jean-François Cope … uninhibited.

The point : Year II of the quinquennium Macron Community. But have you been convinced every year?

Jean-François Cope: Yes, rather. The first year of the quinquence brought reforms that should have done justice when it was in power. I am thinking of the reforms of labor law, asylum law and SNCF, which are good decisions. Nevertheless, I have one regret and three concerns. Firstly, I believe that we should not be satisfied with a regulation on labor law, but should adopt a period of 14 days that relates immediately to security issues, social and public finances. What has not been done in the first three months will become increasingly difficult as the five-year period progresses. Concerning concerns, I am strict about how mayors are politically disguised and financially stifled. They keep our areas at a distance! This has consequences for the distance between the Parisian power and the rest of the country. My second criticism concerns the total cessation of any action in favor of difficult neighborhoods. The government can worry all day about delinquency, the rise of radical Islamism, even the risk of terrorism, and not seeing that the most important problems come from these deserted neighborhoods. My third concern is the lack of solidity of the sovereign issues. Emmanuel Macron must do much more and stronger justice and secularism.

If his first year went reasonably well, there were some more personal hooks and eyes, like the Benalla case. "What is your opinion about this case? Is it a state scandal?

No, but she illustrated a great lightness in the Elyos operation that had to be taken over very quickly. The opposition played its part by entering the breach. It is a good war. Observers, on the other hand, have fallen behind. The institutions are not weakened or threatened by this case. Some have done too much.

Read also Gabriel Attal: "The Benalla case: 15 tons of foam with 150 grams of soap"

But that says things about Emmanuel Macron, the kind of people he surrounds and his way of directing …

The President of the Republic has real leadership qualities, but he has a weakness: he is alone and above all he is a prisoner of his immediate environment, consisting of people who are certainly very qualified but who, for many, fish by arrogance. This way of thinking that everything they do is great and that everything we did before was bad, is a symptom of fragility at the top of the state that isolates them. It discourages people of experience from coming and guiding and warning them. The vulnerability of the president is there.

"Once the law has ended its slow dissolution, it must absolutely revive the culture of the government instead of continuing this ridiculous race with the extreme right."

This maelstrom ultimately showed that the new world was much like the old one?

This "new world" formula has been used so often that we no longer know what it refers to! Because it is mainly a recipe from marketing borrowed from the strategy of "dégagisme" developed by Marine Le Pen and Jean-Luc Mélenchon. It was all the more effective with Emmanuel Macron that the French no longer accepted the speeches of well-worn right-wing or left-wing candidates. But where the idea of ​​"new world" is a reality, it is that the dividing line right / left is brutally swept by a violent confrontation between "government parties" and "extremist parties". Today the challenge is to know whether Emmanuel Macron will be the only one who embodies the reformers' camp.

What do you say about that?

I hope not, because if it would fail, the only alternative would be Melenchon or Le Pen. Once the law has ended its slow dissolution, it is imperative that it revive the culture of the government instead of continuing this ridiculous race with the extreme right.

For Emmanuel Macron, the honeymoon seems to stop: growth is slowing, unemployment is declining very little and household consumption is declining. Should he change economic stuff?

By not starting a five-year program of declining government expenditure, he has lost time. My experience as Minister of Budget has for me a clear conviction forged: a term of five years is a countdown that runs from year 5 to year 1! The President of the Republic experiences reality, but he has no 36 solutions. Either it increases the taxes further, but increasing the CSG is already a big mistake that has broken the growth as we feared; or he lets the deficits slip away as his two predecessors have unfortunately done and he will suffer the same fate as them. He must therefore have the courage to cut social expenditure and explain it to the French.

Also read: What is the Elysée?

For a president who is called left to his majority, is not it politically risky?

Everything is risky! Increasing taxes or releasing deficits is suicidal. We must avoid caricatures: reducing social spending does not mean that the lives of the most modest French are becoming more uncertain. There is a lot of waste and I am talking about billions of euros that never reach the pockets of those who need it the most. All this money is lost in personnel costs, administrative costs and delays in implementation. It requires a serious evaluation of the effectiveness of social assistance in France to understand where these billions fly.

Also read Budget 2019: the time of difficult arbitrations

Recently it was a Canadian, Benjamin Smith, who took the helm of Air France-KLM. Do you see his appointment favorable?

Like many, I would have preferred to find a candidate in France. There were a few, but I also understand that we have chosen a man who has the experience of the company rather than a senior official. Yet the real conditions of success are not in a man, but in the judgment of the hypocrisy with regard to Air France. We are in a highly competitive sector where companies such as IAG (British Airways and Iberia, Ed) or Lufthansa consistently achieve better results, in proportions that sometimes double or triple. The conditions that have been made especially to the pilots today are untenable and it is essential that this company accepts the fact that we have changed over time. Air France must be able to change, as Orange did in the meantime.

Also read: Étienne Gernelle – xenophobic syndicalism

That means that the state must withdraw completely from the capital of Air France?

The presence of the state in the capital is in the order of 14%, and that makes little sense in 2018. It is too much or too little. If the state leaves Air France, this will cause a psychological shock that alone will allow a thorough restructuring of this company. This is necessary because Air France can not work sustainably with net wages that are in the high range in all occupations and pilots who fly on average 15% less than in competing companies.

So, are you sure you should get rid of this family jewel?

This idea dates from a different century. In 2018 we can not continue with speeches from the 1950s. Can the Air France group remain one of the great leaders of world aviation? This is the only question that is worth it. We have not waited for Emmanuel Macron to think about the shareholder of the state: it has been established that the presence of the state in the capital does not do anything about the competitiveness of Air France-KLM.

"Laurent Wauquiez hastened to an election that was not one and had no candidates or serious debates, without a clear line without debate and lacking the right to have no identity"

Laurent Wauquiez on Mount Mézenc, Valérie Pécresse in Brive, Bruno Retailleau in La Baule, Xavier Bertrand in Châlons … The political return from the right is in a scattered order, and without a general summer university. Has the new leader failed to reconcile the family from the right?

The drawing drawn there is unambiguous. This is the result of six months of decisions taken in a logic of exclusion or exclusion. All this has meant that there is no more debate within the Republicans. This is an approach that is the opposite of the one I was when I was head of the UMP. I have always wanted to collect, also in the composition of the teams around me. And God knows whether the tensions between François Fillon and me were alive! However, I had decided and supposed to bring together Fillonists, Liberals, Gaullists and centrists. This unit work was also successful in 2014 with the blue wave of municipal. This was the only victory of the law in the past ten years. This split comeback sounds like a poor gradebook. It is the sanction of the policy of the president of the republicans.

Wauquiez, Pécresse © THOMAS SAMSON AFP

Valérie Pécresse and Laurent Wauquiez in January 2018.


Is he the only one responsible? From the beginning Xavier Bertrand decided to distance himself and Valérie Pécresse did not invest in the internal elections anymore.

When we integrate nobody, we separate them mechanically. Xavier Bertrand made a statement that is perfectly audible, like him, I am not at ease with the flashy flirtation of the Republicans' president with the national rally (former national front, Ed). This is the reverse of the DNA of a government party that had characterized for years that Alain Juppe, Nicolas Sarkozy, Xavier Bertrand and I had governed the law and the center. We can not only win. Precisely because Jacques managed to collect Chirac, we were able to govern France. Not by liberating the centrists, by changing the liberals and by giving the Gaullist and European message, like Laurent Wauquiez. The effect of his policy is that our party has become totally obstructed and shrunk. It is sad and in my opinion untenable.

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Is this & # 39; drama & # 39; a problem of ego or political line?

This is the price we pay when we conduct an internal election, without taking the time to understand the reasons for our disastrous defeat in 2017. The famous "April 21st upside down" that Francis predicted Fillon took place under his candidacy, but which lesson was then learned? Laurent Wauquiez rushed to an election that was not one and had no candidates or serious debates. Without debate there is no clear line and in the absence of a line, the right has no identity.

So is Laurent Wauquiez the problem?

The image that we refer to the French counts a lot. Unfortunately for him life is not an empty page. We all have a story, but his permanent zigzag keeps him away from the French. He developed an image of insincerity and systematic opportunism.

Also read Virginie Calmels: "Wauquiez is in the threat"

He is insincere?

Yes, and that is what people today hate in politics. When he talks about "bullshit" for students in Lyon, he explains that he tells nonsense to the French. Admittedly, there have been terrible personal insults against Nicolas Sarkozy, Alain Juppé and Valérie Pécresse, but it is far more terrible to show that he has nothing to do with the French. What he said weakens us collectively.

He is the one who will dictate the line he must follow for the Europeans.

Beyond the person, I am much more concerned to see the Eurosceptic line prevail. I had resisted his book in which he favored one to five reduced Europe. It was paralyzing. He shocked many people, because that is not the DNA of French law. It is not about self-sufficiency, but you can not collect votes on clichés and caricatures. Typing about Europe if you are a government party is irresponsible because it is our calling to reform it while we are reforming France. Let us believe that we will solve the migration problem through a referendum – if we always lose it! – to suggest that the European institutions could be reformed by nodding their fingers – when it takes years – to mislead people. My political family can not fall into the clichés that, unfortunately, will always be better served by Jean-Luc Mélenchon and Marine Le Pen.

Read also Europeans: Villiers, Calmels, Wauquiez … LR looks at the top of the list

Should we not reform Europe?

We must stop to make the French believe that their setbacks come only from Brussels. Yes, Europe needs to correct a number of shortcomings, but it is primarily about protecting and enabling the harmonious development of its citizens and its Member States. It must have three major priority projects: immigration, security and trade. It has never prevented France from reforming: we have been afraid for years! This is the position that French law must retain. We have no choice but to stand in a constructive opposition to Macron because it is the interest of France that drives us. Yes, we have to be persistent about the failures and setbacks of Emmanuel Macron, but we must also support or even admit if his action is consistent with our ideas. We can not leave it alone in the European niche, it is insanity for the good.

You say Europe is here to protect, but it has cost France's intervention on glyphosate to encourage Europe to choose alternatives to this molecule that is considered carcinogenic.

Hypocrisy is not just European in this area. For years, states have argued for the development of pesticides because they were considered beneficial at the time, because it was the promise of agricultural production that could escape a number of pests, including bacteriological ones. Today there is a turnaround and Europe is only the recipient of this state consciousness. Of course it should go faster, but the differences first exist in France before they raged in Brussels. Put Stéphane Travert and Nicolas Hulot in the same room and you have the image of the French divisions on the subject. The problem is not Europe, but our own contradictions. Traditionally, France has always wanted to exaggerate the European guidelines with great zeal, while our German, Dutch, Danish or Italian friends have done it with much more moderation.

"It is absolutely necessary to defeat Anne Hidalgo, but it is imperative that the republic join forces in March and the republicans to achieve it"

This summer you have the intention to present yourself in the city hall of Paris in 2020. You have denied it. Is Paris not worth it?

Meaux, it's my life. I operated there thanks to the Borloo plan – which I am inspired and which trampled Macron on foot – major transformations in sensitive districts to reduce delinquency and unemployment. I saw that there were solutions and that politics could be used for something. I share with my colleagues a collaborative project from Meaux to Roissy on a territory that brings together 500,000 inhabitants looking out on Greater Paris. These projects fascinate me, to the point that I have given up my deputy to remain mayor. It touches me a lot that you let this rumor of a Parisian application hang up, but that was never my plan. I also see the reflection of what the right Parisienne is in dissolution. Because nature is horrified by the emptiness, we are looking for people who can put up their sleeves. There are too many crocodiles in Paris, so busy fighting each other that they forget the rest of France. Nevertheless, I have a very firm judgment on the action of Anne Hidalgo. It is absolutely necessary to defeat it, but it is imperative that the republic join forces in March and the republicans to achieve it.

Also read Municipal: the masked ball of Paris

You who dreamed of being president, you finally failed at the doors of the most important one from the right. Do you feel that you have missed something in your political career?

It is a bit spicy. I still had the immense honor of being a minister for five years. I chaired the majority in the Assembly, leader of the party and leader of the opposition. I have been Mayor of Meaux for years. All of this has often led to important successes. When I was Minister for the Budget with my friend Thierry Breton, in 2007 we left a country with a deficit of less than 2.5%, as claimed by the famous Maastricht criteria, while taxes are being reduced. We stood at 63% of the debt on GDP. We are now almost 100%! I fought a fight to banish the burqa and I and other mayors – although still a taboo – denounced the rise of radical Islamism. I actively participated in the success of the Borloo plan for difficult neighborhoods. I have made a law on gender equality in the boards of directors, a great success. So yes, after violent moments, I felt the need to "pause" after fifteen years of a journey that was exciting and, I hope, useful for my country.

Saved in cache © ERIC FEFERBERG AFP

In the primary school of law and center in 2017, Jean-Francois Cope had collected only 0.3%.


And there was a heavy defeat at the primary school on the right …

In the context of the Bygmalion case, I did not want to take my political family hostage, so I made the choice to step down and wait for justice to confirm my innocence, whatever she did. I took a step back, heightened the height of the political politician. This is an opportunity to think about rest, to discover new themes. The primary? I was dirty before I was released, so I could not claim that I could win! I went there anyway to send a message of life to those who had stabbed me. And the TV debates are a better memory for me than for other candidates!

Is the new Cope quieter?

No doubt. That is my nature anyway. If you are the leader of the opposition, you have to be in the media all the time to criticize and propose. Laurent Wauquiez – deliberately absent to protect himself – leaves the voice of the opposition diffuse and inaudible.

When the law has ended its "slow dissolution" to use your words, do you see yourself as an actor in his reordering?

We will see the circumstances. There will be things that I will not let go. I had conceptualized the right "unrestrained" towards the moralizing left, but without concession to the FN. The descent to the far right that I see today is unbearable.

You criticize the extreme right-wing drive of Laurent Wauquiez, but the unrestrained unrestrained, the chocolate bread … you are it! And you have the same complaint: go on the land of the FN.

The "uninhibited right" was the opposite: assuming it was right, but never accept the slightest compromise with the extreme right. And this translates into a number of strong markings. For example, I have always refused to be taken away from the UMP extremist slogans that were directly inspired by the Front National as the famous leaflet "so France stays France". In the same way I would never have tolerated if I had not responded to the meetings between young LR activists and young FN activists in the square, as the press had reported before the summer. Two types of characters that support the idea that there may be a hidden plan … Finally and foremost, I do not hesitate, so subscribing to the gaullistic, liberal and centrist tradition of our party, called to vote on Macron Le Pen in the second round of the presidential elections, which Laurent Wauquiez refused despite all the energy we put together with my friends Baroin, Chatel and Bertrand to convince him that it was a big political and moral mistake.

Also read Laurent Wauquiez: "Identity has become the worst insult"

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