It was his baby, his iconic measure. This Thursday morning, however, Édouard Philippe has finally resolved to pave the way for an easing of 80 km / h, announcing that he was ready to leave the departments the "responsibility" to set the maximum speed on their route. A real change of foot for the Prime Minister who, until then, had defended against all odds this – very unpopular – speed limit.
Last December, when the Yellow Vest crisis frightened the executive and Emmanuel Macron was ready to slam the 80 km / h to appease public opinion, Philippe had stood up to the head of state. "At the time, he had made a red line. This is understandable because he was so personally committed to this issue, "says a parliamentarian of the majority.
But this position proved to be more and more difficult to hold. From the start of the grand debate in mid-January, the president had returned to the charge by asserting in front of more than 600 mayors in Normandy that it was necessary to consider relaxation to achieve "something that is better accepted and smarter" … At the end of the grand consultation, Philippe sketched a first mea culpa: "I wanted to save lives, I was accused of wanting to fill the coffers," he regretted, conceding: "I must learn to compose with the misunderstanding of our fellow citizens. "
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This Thursday morning, Edouard Philippe ended up eating his hat. "It's just a change of method. The 80 remains the norm. This measure worked and he is very proud of it. Then, if we can make intelligent arrangements, he accepts, "however, is to lower his entourage in Matignon.
A politician maneuver?
Still, the timing of this announcement – ten days just before the European election – routed more than one: "It could have been said and done earlier. But there, just before the European, it is sure that it might be interpreted as a politician maneuver ", surprised a local elected who is not a fierce opponent against Philip. " This has nothing to do with. If the debate emerges is because the MPs have tabled an amendment under the law on mobility, and that the review of this law is planned for three months, "sweeps Matignon.
Still, even in the ranks of the majority, the backing of the Prime Minister leaves some cautious: "It shows that he is very feverish right now. The 80 is still the subject that bristles everyone, the French, the local elected … If he comes back, it's because he feels the wind of the ball ", advance on condition of anonymity a parliamentary majority. And to conclude: "Because if we take a slap in the European, he knows he may jump. "