On the second day of his visit to Marseille, Emmanuel Macron detailed an emergency plan for the city, Thursday, September 2 in the late afternoon, after attending the start of the school year. At the Pharo Palace, the president presented, in a speech lasting over an hour, “Marseille en grand”, which includes a series of measures and projects “Co-produced with local authorities”, according to the Elysee.
The State will bring in total to Marseille around one and a half billion euros in new funding, mainly for transport as well as for culture and security, detailed the Elysee Thursday evening. To this will be added a contribution to the renovation of 174 schools, yet to be quantified, added an adviser to Mr. Macron.
The President of the Republic, traveling for three days in the second largest city in France, has promised to return in October and then in February for a first assessment.
“Marseille is as big as two and a half times Paris. Marseille is a city-world that has welcomed neighborhoods at its heart. Indeed, it is crippled by geographic fractures “, began by analyzing the president. “It’s a city full of energy that wants to free itself from its fractures (…). The duty of the nation is to be alongside the Marseillais and the Marseillaises ”, he said again.
“I arrive in front of you with a lot of ambition and a lot of humility”, explained Mr. Macron. “We must succeed in this bet and analyze what has failed: the answer is necessarily multiple, there is no magic recipe. There is the drug scourge, which has shaken up so many neighborhoods, but we had underestimated the divisions of local action. “
169 million euros for the health emergency
For the president, “The emergency is security, social and health”. After returning to the announcements of the day before about insecurity, Mr. Macron said he wanted “Accelerate” the fight against poor housing, nearly three years after the death of eight people in the collapse of a building in rue d’Aubagne. Also, “Doctors and nursing staff must invest in neighborhoods that are currently lacking. We cannot leave entire districts, in the center of Marseille, which are medical deserts ”, he insisted, revealing 169 million euros of budget shared with local authorities for the health emergency, in part for the rehabilitation of the hospital of Timone and the North hospital, as well as 50 million additional euros for the Women-parents-children center and the Maison des femmes.
A billion for transport
On transport, the Head of State has posted an objective: “Open up the northern districts and enable the north and the south to be linked” of a city where inequalities and geographical divides are very important.
” [Je suis] ready so that we can have this funding of one billion euros, including 250 million in subsidies that will be committed by the State “, said Mr. Macron, citing in particular three very concrete projects: the automation of the metro, the creation of four tram lines and five bus lines with a high level of service.
He strangled the Aix-Marseille-Provence Metropolis in the process, led by Martine Vassal (Les Républicains), project manager on the subject, believing that the community was passing “Too much time to redistribute” and had “Struggling to carry projects”, inviting him to “Change its governance”.
Mr. Macron announced that the State would participate in the vast renovation plan, launched by the municipality, of 174 of the 472 schools in the city, in return for a commitment from the mayor of Marseille, Benoît Payan, to create an ad hoc company . “We must invent the school of the future by reinventing the way of teaching and the methods of learning”, also said the president. In this spirit, he said he wanted to experiment in Marseille with the freedom of the choice of teachers by the directors in 50 schools. “Laboratories”, and this, from the start of the 2022 school year. In these schools, it will be necessary “To be able to first choose the teachers, to be sure that they are fully motivated, that they adhere to the project”, he insisted.
“Parents tell me: ‘In such and such a place, teachers don’t come anymore”, it happens because there are people who are tired of working too long in difficult neighborhoods ”, estimated the president. “We must allow our teachers to choose these neighborhoods and the educational projects that go with them, which is not the case today”, he lamented. Micro-colleges and micro-schools must be installed in the northern districts of Marseille, also promised the head of state.
Culture as an “economic pillar”
“Culture is a pillar of the economic life of tomorrow”, said Macron. The city “Must carry the Mediterranean dream (…). Marseille European Capital of Culture, it should not last just a year, but be an ambition for the future ”.
The head of state wants the creation of “Large studios in the Mediterranean which will provide the infrastructure for the shooting of major films, major series”, without specifying whether they will lean against Provence Studios, which already exists a few kilometers away, in Martigues.
He also promised to “Create the first filming basin at sea”, a branch of the French Cinémathèque and the establishment of the CinéFabrique school in Marseille on the Lyon model.
Marseille, “city of possibilities”
“Your visit to Marseille is historic”, had greeted a few minutes earlier Mr. Payan, thanking the president for his trip. “Marseille is like France. You can become Marseillais from the moment you decide to (…). Marseille is the city of possibilities ”, insisted the socialist mayor.
The same morning, the head of state returned to the northern districts, the most popular of the city. He was welcomed in a CM2 class at the Bouge school, in the 13e arrondissement, district where the poverty rate is 28%. Cockroaches, bed bugs, classrooms where the temperature can reach 35 degrees in summer but where you have to wear a jacket and hat in winter: a teacher has identified the problems, stressing that his students “Deserves[ai]better ” and that they should not grow up in “The idea that they deserve this”. “Schools are unworthy of the Republic”, summarized Mr. Payan, who estimates the financing needs of the first tranche at 1.2 billion euros.
Macron “in the countryside”, according to the opposition
“A lot of things that we are going to launch will not have results immediately, I am lucid (…). We will do the maximum, but I cannot tell you that we will succeed ”, conceded Mr. Macron on Wednesday.
Skepticism is shared by residents and local elected officials, who recall that many plans have been announced for decades for Marseille, without the situation improving significantly. “Of course that gives rise to hope. After that, it shouldn’t be a one shot », reacted the mayor of Marseille, conceding that “Not everything will be done in six months, not in a year”.
Jean-Luc Mélenchon (La France insoumise), present as a deputy at a meeting with local elected officials, denounced “The pilgrimage of promises” of the president, who “Is in an election campaign”, betting that “Not a euro of these promises will be spent before the election”.
Less than eight months before the presidential election, this trip is widely commented on on the national political scene, the right-wing opposition focusing its criticism on Mr. Macron’s security record in Marseille, and beyond, while the left demands that the state is putting more resources into social services.
After a dinner on Thursday with Mario Draghi, the head of the Italian government, Mr. Macron will dedicate the day of Friday to the environment, with a sea trip in the Calanques National Park and the opening of the World Congress of the International Union for the conservation of nature, which is held in the city of Marseille until September 11.
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