Food check: a look back at Emmanuel Macron's reneging on his promise - public senate

Food check: a look back at Emmanuel Macron’s reneging on his promise – public senate

Food inspection will not see the light of day. On Sunday on France 3, the economy minister put the final nail in the coffin of this promise: “I will bury the policy of controls because I believe it is not correct,” explained Bruno Le Mayor. “Forget the check policy, we don’t have that,” said the minister, who prefers to support associations and food banks to help the poorest. The topic of food aid also occupied Parliament during the autumn budget debate, after the Restos du coeur raised concerns in September. The Senate also released €30 million to respond to the emergency at the end of the year, the amount was eventually reduced by 10 million euros by the joint committee. Aid promised to associations and food banks. But no food control in sight.

Food control: a draft citizen’s climate convention

Food control was above all one of the key proposals of the Citizens’ Convention on Climate. Its principle: to provide monthly assistance to the poorest households, helping them to consume sustainable French and organic food products. Logistically, the distribution of these checks had to be entrusted to the city’s social action centers. In June 2020, Emmanuel Macron personally confirmed the proposal before a meeting of the Civic Convention in the Elysée Gardens. The enthusiasm of the citizens is then put to sleep in the summer restlessness. There is no sign of the food inspection in the recovery plan or in the finance bill for 2021. Bercy is hitting the brakes in the face of a complex and expensive measure, and the Ministry of Agriculture is no longer calling. But six months later, in the face of a well-charged Citizens Convention, waiting for action after promises, Emmanuel Macron repeats his green light for civic action: “I agree with food control, so we have to do it. » An announcement that will catch the entire government by surprise.

Climate and Resilience Act measures

Because if the idea is consensual, the execution turns into a headache. The food voucher does appear in the Climate and Resilience Act of 2021, but very timidly. Article 259 of the text simply states that the government must hand over A report to the Parliament within two months of the announcement on “the methods and deadlines for the creation of a ‘sustainable food voucher’ and the actions carried out in this area”. Six months later, the executive must draw up an implementation report, that is, “beneficiaries, eligible products, nominal value, duration, evaluation and monitoring methods, distribution methods”… When we want to bury the decision, we create a commission, said Georges Clemenceau. Tiger could add: and we order news!

Two messages are missing

And when news isn’t released, promises are even more fragile. In October 2021, the General Inspectorate of Social Affairs, the General Inspectorate of Finance, the General Council for Food, Agriculture and Rural Affairs must submit the reports promised by the Climate and Resilience Act. Almost two years later, MPs wonder about these reports, which have never been published, and also put a (written) question to the government. Proponents of the check include food banks, but also FNSEA. Facing a social crisis, explains the farmers’ union that he is afraid that mass distribution will force him to lower prices and suggests taking inspiration from “food stamps,” which were created in 1939 and still benefit 40 million Americans. However, the union does not comment on the costs of the measure. Finally, the 2022 Finance Bill says no more about the grocery check, which is once again stored in the cupboard.

2022: election promise from Emmanuel Macron

But that’s without counting the presidential campaign and its promises! Candidate Macron talks about this project very early, on the very day of his entry into the top race. During a trip to Poissy (Yvelines) on March 7, 2022, the outgoing president again talks about what already seems to be one of the sea serpents of the previous five-year period. Again, he promises, but does not give further details. On 17 April, already in Dimanche en politique on France 3, the then Minister of Agriculture, Julien Denormandie, indicated that “food control” would be introduced “right after the elections”. “The principle is arbitration,” adds the tenant of rue de Varenne.

On June 29 of that year, it was government spokesperson Olivia Grégoire who was responsible for providing the first details. Finally, we are talking about numbers: an emergency food check of 100 euros per household and 50 euros per child should help support the most modest. This measure and many others will appear in the Purchasing Power Bill to be passed in July 2022. The fact remains that this control is food in name only, as it is not conditional on food purchases and is not sustainable. In fact, it is a simple support intended for the 9 million poorest French people, which is then renamed “inflation control”. In addition, on September 12, Bruno Le Maire (he already!) confirmed that no No food check credit will be given in the 2023 financial account. However, he is keeping the door open for next year.

2023: the last funeral?

The economy minister said the exact opposite of what he said on Sunday last March. He categorically assured that “the experiment (will) be started in the coming months”. At the end of the meeting with the distributors, which resulted in an agreement on consumer prices, Bruno Le Maire concluded by answering the question about the meal plan: “This support was promised by the president of the republic and with the government, we will implement our promises.” This is the strong expectation of the poorest, the humblest. This is also a strong expectation from the agricultural world. » Less than a year later, no food inspection in sight and journalist Francis Letellierwho systematically questions his guests from among the majority on this subject he saw that his perseverance was rewarded. So here is buried food control… Unless the president of the republic resurrects it again.

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