In the Lot, Emmanuel Macron shook by the mayors on the territorial fracture

"I had to go around three police checkpoints and cut through woods to get here," says Franck, who came from Brive to arrest the President of the Republic, "We do not want to communicate only with papers and pens (via Mayor Emmanuel Macron said he wanted to meet the French and we are here, instead of inviting 800 mayors, he should have brought 800 inhabitants to debate with him ".

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Franck, a resident of Brive, reproaches Emmanuel Macron for not going into contact with the French. / (Credits: Florine Galéron).

They are a hundred like him this Friday, January 18 in the morning in the city center of Souillac (Lot) to hear some "Macron resignation", trying to approach closer to the Palais des Congrès, where was held in Paris. afternoon the second stage of the great national debate. Right out of the highway, the first police checkpoints are in place. A curly city, just like the day before for his wishes to the armies from the military base of Francazal.

Only 700 mayors from the 13 departments of Occitanie are invited to discuss with the head of state. For this second session of the great national debate, Emmanuel Macron made the choice of Souillac, the small town of the Lot where he had held a meeting in February 2017. In the heart of the presidential campaign, En Marche had celebrated its 200 000th member .

From 2 pm, the elected representatives begin to settle in the room. Many of them come from small towns. Like Martine Rodriguez, mayor of a town of 460 inhabitants in the Lot, and installed in the 2nd row.

"The return of the ISF, the increase in low wages and the decline of the CSG for low incomes are among the first grievances per inhabitant in the notebook made available to the mayor," she observes.

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Many mayors of small communes have been invited for the Great National Debate./ (Credits: Florine Galéron).

Mayors "dispossessed" of their power and resources

Shortly after 15:30, Emmanuel Macron cracked the tide of mayors who rose to welcome him. Passed the amabilities and an introductory speech of the President of the Republic pointing "the territorial, ecological and democratic fracture", the exchanges start without language of wood. Christian Vernries, Mayor of Saint-Cirgues (Lot) announces from the outset that he wants to be "neither the organizer nor the Loyal" of thenational debate :

"Those responsible for the current situation must come to our territories. Before laying your laws from your Paris office, come and talk with the inhabitants rather than impose laws without measuring the devastating effects. "

Before adding that since the law NOTRe, "the town halls have become empty shells for the benefit of inter-municipal XXL.There are only nine communes in the Lot able to redo identity cards, the inhabitants must sometimes go 27 km to do this type of approach ". Applause in the room. Other elected officials later in turn underline the feeling of being "dispossessed" of both their local power and their resources with the decrease in the overall operational allocation (DGF) of municipalities.

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Many mayors have deplored the decline of the DGF (Ludovic Marin / Pool via REUTERS).

"It's not the job that's missing but how to get there"

By taking the microphone, the city officials do not hesitate to cite concrete examples of the territorial fracture as it is experienced in rural areas. Sometimes it is a half-post of professor suppressed because it lacked two pupils, sometimes it is mayors deprived face to the problems of mobility of their fellow-citizens.

"It is not the job that is missing but how to get there" points Aurélie Corbineau, mayor of Verdun-sur-Garonne (Tarn-et-Garonne), recalling at the same time that, according to INSEE 18% of French people do not have a personal vehicle.

The quality of telephone networks is still a hindrance to the economic development of some villages. Cyril Delpech, deputy mayor of Caudebronde (Aude) cites the example of his municipality classified in the gray zone, where mobile phones pick up sporadically and where the poor quality of the fixed telephony lines has harmed the warning device during the drama floods that the department experienced last fall.

"The four operators should be asked by decree to improve coverage in the gray zone, as you are financing it for the white areas," he pleads.

After three hours listening to the complaints of mayors, Emmanuel Macron hailed an "exchange without significant filter" before returning to the various topics discussed. The President of the Republic did not fail to emphasize that "the law NOTRe was not voted under this term," but said "not against reopen the debate on the DGF that favors the metropolis to the detriment of the territories in loss "population," while launching two hours later that he does not want to overhaul this law. On the telephone coverage, the Head of State said it was necessary to "put pressure on the operators" for the intermediate areas. Later, he said that:

"It is not the return of the ISF or the introduction of the RIC (citizens' initiative referendum) that will solve the problem of mass unemployment in our country but courageous reforms."

"The key is not to oppose the territories"

During the second round of questions, Emmanuel Macron was also arrested on the merger metropolis / department, a very sensitive subject in Toulouse.

Read also: Fusion Métropole / Department: "blackmail has no place" for Jean-Luc Moudenc

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Emmanuel Macron has confirmed his desire for a merger Metropolis / Department (Credit: Ludovic Marin / POOL via Reuters).

The head of state confirmed that he wants this rapprochement on the model of Greater Lyon "if it is worn locally" but "no decision will be made without having seen the presidents of departmental advisers". The leader of the Haute-Garonne Georges Meric was present in the room but as a spectator. In the preamble of the debate, the President of the Republic had indicated that he would not exchange during the evening with the departmental councilors and that "a specific working lunch on their skills" would be organized shortly.

For him, "the key is not to oppose the territories", before illustrating with the Toulouse example: "The metropolis irrigates the territory until Figeac that benefits from this ripple effect".

Shortly after 22h, after more than 6:30 of debate, Emmanuel Macron poses the microphone under a standing ovation before heading back to the road. In the town center of Souillac, some inhabitants are posted on the edge of the road or at the window of their house, with a slim hope of a sign from the president.