While the head of state was traveling in the Aisne, Friday, the candidate for the nomination The Republicans challenged him vigorously, leaving room for a frosty discussion on the thorny industrial issue and the tariffs of the ‘electricity. Both raise the tone in front of the cameras.
Is it the President of the Republic or the future candidate for the presidential election who travels to Hauts-de-France? Doubt is allowed. Friday, November 19, Emmanuel Macron attacked a four-day circuit in this region, starting with trips to the departments of North and Aisne before ending Monday, November 21 in Amiens, his hometown.
A first step far from pleasant for the Head of State, marked by a particularly tense exchange with Xavier Bertrand. “I want to save this factory. You too ? The president of the Hauts-de-France region took advantage of Emmanuel Macron’s visit to insistently criticize the situation of the Ascoval steelworks.
To recontextualize, this factory located in Saint-Saulve, employs 270 people. It produces steel bars for the manufacture of rails. Its future remains, to this day, very uncertain. The German group Saarstahl, which owns it, was considering relocating part of its production to Germany, where the blast furnaces run on coal, much cheaper than electricity, the prices of which are soaring.
But following a meeting in Bercy, Thursday, November 18, Saarstahl gave up his project. The government did not specify the guarantees granted, which raised the concern of the president of the Hauts-de-France region.
The cost of electricity in question
“The solution adopted is not satisfactory. It is the electricity tariff that is the problem. As long as we have competition from the Germans with coal, they [Ascoval] will not be competitive. They must be granted the preferential rate, it is the only way to get them out of the business permanently, ”Xavier Bertrand blurted out to the Head of State.
Emmanuel Macron then retorted: “As you know, dear president of the regional council, the minister [chargée de l’industrie] spent his day and night there ”. He then invited the candidate for Congress Les Républicains to “talk about it” to Agnès Pannier-Runacher, who announced that the contract between Ascoval and EDF would change on January 1 to “stabilize” the cost of electricity.
But Xavier Bertrand does not stop there. “I want to save this factory. You too ? He insists. An exchange becoming more and more heated. “They have at my request yesterday convened the company”, replied Emmanuel Macron before being interrupted by Xavier Bertrand: “I tell you that this is not the solution”. The latter requires “guarantees” on the electricity tariff granted to the factory which employs 270 workers.
Emmanuel Macron cuts short the discussion
“You may know better than all the others,” said Emmanuel Macron. “The problem is not to know who is right between us, take into account the point of view of which I am the spokesperson”, retorted his interlocutor. The President of the Republic then cut short by concluding: “I thank you for being alongside the other elected officials who work for the territory. With me you have a President of the Republic who fights for industry on the ground. “
One way to send Xavier Bertrand back to his status as president of Hauts-de-France. And to challenge him in doing so that of potential opponent for 2022.