How Emmanuel Macron made Marseille his favorite destination

POLITICS – It’s hard to find a city that attracts so much and as a magnet, Emmanuel Macron. His very first holiday as head of state? In Marseille. His favorite football club? Olympics in Marseille. A three-day visit in a new format? To Marseille. A departure from the tradition of a diplomatic meeting with Angela Merkel elsewhere than in Paris? Marseille again. A surprise visit in the middle of the Covid crisis? Always Marseille.

The only meeting between the two rounds? In short … This Thursday, June 2, the Head of State returns in the direction of the Old Port, for a visit under the theme (burning on the spot) schools in the company of his new Minister of National Education, Pap Ndiaye.

A theme that was already on the agenda during his trip in September, and which responds to the numerous warnings issued by the Socialist mayor of the city of Marseille, Benoît Payan. “The head of state will visit the Menpenti school and its mathematics laboratory, an innovative educational project set up as part of the ‘school of the future’ experiment launched in September 2021 with the ‘Marseille en Grand’ plan,” says the Elysée.

The presidency clarifies that the course ends with an exchange with pedagogical teams, the students’ parents and the associations. The opportunity for Emmanuel Macron to write a new chapter in the very special relationship he has with the oldest city in France.

“I’m in love with Marseille”

The anecdote is told in the book Emmanuel Macron, Truths and Legendss (ed. Perrin), written by Arthur Berdah, journalist at Figaro. Since he was still only Minister of Economy, he envisioned conquering the city of Marseille: “if I were to enter politics, it would be to take the town hall of Marseille”. Fate would have it otherwise, but this attraction remained intact.

“I am in love with Marseille because I love tragic Mediterranean cities. For everything is both complex and possible. Because there is an insane generosity there ”, the president justifies in this work and shows the ambition to make the prefecture of Bouches-du-Rhône the“ capital of the Mediterranean ”.

Hence this long-standing desire to make Marseille a laboratory for solutions for the country. “If we manage to solve the problems in Marseille, we will succeed in other areas that suffer”, explained HuffPost Saïd Ahamada, LREM Deputy from Marseille, on the subject of “special attention” which the Head of State retains with regard to this “world city”. That is why the state is investing 3.6 billion euros in the renovation of France’s second city, where the wounds associated with the (poor) management of the Gaudin era are still alive, especially in housing.

“We speak honestly”

A volunteer well helped by the good relationship he has with Benoît Payan, 44 years like him. “We work a bit in the same way. We talk honestly with each other, we seek efficiency. And then we have the same wishes for Marseille “, the socialist mayor admitted in Point in the month of November.

“There is a common will between Payan and Macron: it is not a matter of gentrifying the northern districts, but of creating a community by narrowing the gap”, notes in The echoesJean-Marc Borello, who has the special thing about being both close to the head of state and Marseilles aedile.

A convergence that the two will not fail to show this Thursday, as Benoît Payan has just made the renovation of schools a priority for his city. A case that the state has committed to 400 million euros and 650 million euros in government loan guarantees as part of “Marseille en Grand”.

If not Emmanuel Macron is stingy with evidence of love for the Provencal city, it has not become a macronist. In the first round of the presidential election, it was Jean-Luc Mélenchon who (largely) took the lead in Marseille with 31.1%, well ahead of the outgoing president (22.6%). This did not prevent Emmanuel Macron from returning there between two rounds to hold his meeting .. and to multiply the allusions to the Olympique de Marseille.

See also The HuffPost: Death of a French journalist in Ukraine: “This subject can not go unpunished”, says Emmanuel Macron

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