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Éric Piolle: “There will be no major transition without an ecological presidency” – France


You are in Brittany as part of your “summer in the countryside”. What is the purpose of this visit?

I go to meet those who are worried, those who make things happen. I will be in an organic milk farm in Morbihan, this Thursday, with a fisherman in La Rochelle, Friday. The goal is to do a collaborative campaign, to inspire me with ideas, to gain energy, to motivate activists and networks for the ecological primary which is open to all, in September.

The theme of your Breton visit is agriculture. Why this choice ?

I come here because Emmanuel Macron, by abandoning the climate, abandoned Brittany to the lobbies. And it is dramatic for the Bretons, for France, and for these hundreds of thousands of farmers who do not want to move, who adore their profession and who today have a word which is monopolized by a few pundits of the FNSEA (National Federation of Farmers’ Unions) which collects most of the subsidies from the CAP and which are there to slow down and water down the changes necessary for the general interest and for the greatest number of farmers.

What do you propose to make these “necessary changes”?

What we are proposing is a land plan because we are subject to predation on it. Our land must be used to protect the climate, guarantee our food sovereignty and preserve our biodiversity. It must be protected from artificialization and predation. We therefore suggest submitting foreign investments in land to authorization, as is already the case for defense. The last challenge is to facilitate the transition from farms to organic farms, and to stop industrial agriculture in ten years.

How do you plan to achieve this?

It will take time, it will be necessary to support the actors and it will be necessary to facilitate the transmission because half of the farmers will retire in the next ten years. What we are proposing is a merger between public land establishments and Safer so that there are pre-emption and management capacities in the service of food sovereignty, biodiversity and the climate.

Thanks to this land protection, we will create 25,000 municipal farms by 2027 which, I would point out, are not necessarily public. The idea is to be able to set up, when retiring, farms at the municipal level to produce market gardening and local agriculture. Our proposals will create 120,000 net jobs in agriculture. So, in practice, this transition will create jobs and reduce greenhouse gases from agriculture by 30%.

You are talking about proposals that you have been developing for several months. Have you prepared a transition plan?

Since the fall, we have worked on eleven major themes, from agriculture to industry, through education and taxation to create a global plan to secure the ecological transition by transforming our problems into jobs. It is a plan to prepare for the exercise of power and the implementation of change. In France, there is insecurity which is real but which is primarily social and climatic. Me, I believe that we can live better and this plan will allow this change in a secure way. I will unveil it more precisely, in mid-August, before the summer schools.

The Council of State recently condemned the government for its inaction against air pollution and ordered to take stronger measures on the spreading of pesticides, measures that you have taken at home in Grenoble. What do you think ?

Emmanuel Macron does not protect the French. This decision of the Council of State shows it clearly. He is the sad heir of France above which the Chernobyl cloud has not passed, of France which has been slow to take health measures against asbestos, sad heir to a France condemned for climate inaction. What will remain of this mandate, not much, if it is not the abolition of the ISF, the flat-tax and the breaking of the Labor Code. All of this continues and we cannot stand up to this climate inaction. We must now act. There will be no major transition without a green presidency and that is why I am presenting myself with energy, enthusiasm and determination.

Before the presidential election, there is the environmentalist primary. How do you approach this deadline?

It is a step. A necessary and relevant step. There is no natural candidate, so the primaries are a good way to choose the one who is able to go beyond the ecological base to federate this humanist arc. By being at the heart of this political space, as we have shown in Grenoble and everywhere in France, I think I am the person who can make this possible.

How do you plan to federate when many French people do not yet know you?

Emmanuel Macron is extremely well known. However, no one trusts him to transform the country anymore. The question is not that of notoriety but that of credibility. In September, we will choose the person most able to carry political ecology beyond its base. There is an aspiration of the French to discover people who are able, not to be a providential man, but to lead a collective to govern the country. And then the primary will bring to the person who wins it the necessary visibility and notoriety.

With less than a year before the presidential election, the left is divided with the Socialist Party on one side and La France insoumise on the other. How are you going to unite this “humanist arc”?

It is not my perception. All these people supported me in 2020 so it shows that I am at the heart of this arc and that it is behind political ecology that we can federate. I am in solidarity with the people of my political space. I want to advocate this vision full of hope, this collective method and this incarnation with my career as both a former industrialist and a local elected representative.

If you win the primary at the end of September, will you necessarily be the candidate of political ecology in 2022?

I do not see what other political formation is able to federate. This is what is important and being at the heart of this space puts us in the right place. We must cultivate what brings us together.

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