Accused by the opposition of not doing enough, the government is stepping up measures to help struggling bakeries. While the return to social life promises to be at high risk amid pension reform and the call for yellow vests, the executive wants to avoid a combination of discontent.
Exceptional support. Bercy continued to make gestures towards bakers, who have been hit hard by rising electricity prices in recent weeks, until this Tuesday evening he announced the possibility of canceling his energy contract for free.
The government is closely watching their anger, as several political figures blame the government for the lack of subscribers through Eric Ciotti amid social discontent, from Jordan Bardella to Fabien Roussel.
Bakers are “dying”
While the bakeries represent a powerful symbol between the art of living and the representation of early-morning France, there is no doubt that the executive seems withdrawn.
“We never make noise. People know very well that if we start protesting, it’s because the situation is serious,” Julien Pedussel, an artisan baker from the Oise, sums up with BFMTV.com.
This boss says he is “dying financially” after seeing his electricity bill rise from €1,800 in 2021 to €12,000 in December. Faced with an explosion in the prices of energy and raw materials such as oil and flour, bakers in France fear for survival.
Support and help desks
To deal with the situation, Elisabeth Borne suggested this Tuesday morning that they postpone the payment of taxes and social security contributions.
In a maneuver of several weeks, the two ministers in charge of the file, Bruno Le Maire and Olivia Grégoire, also used the start of the academic year to recall the systems under state control from 15% to 25%. at the help desk of the account when the electricity bill exceeds 3% of turnover.
Bardella and his “Letter to the Bakers of France”
With 33,000 stores in France, this profession has 110,000 employees and millions of customers every day of the year. Suffice it to say that all political camps are seizing the issue. RN’s new boss, Jordan Bardella, even shared an open letter this Tuesday morning.
“Your production is not just a consumer product, it is a source of national pride,” said the MEP in this mission.
The same story is on the side of Eric Ciotti, who now leads Les Républicains and calls on the government to “save craftsmanship”. Needless to say, the bankruptcy of thousands of bakeries just weeks after the baguette was added to the UNESCO Intangible Heritage List will have a devastating effect.
The “magic” of the baguette
While in Washington, Emmanuel Macron was delighted by the announcement, seeing “250 grams of magic and perfection” in this culinary achievement. Every year, the Elysee welcomes around ten master bakers for the galette des rois.
The paradox did not escape Fabien Roussel. On his Twitter account, the head of the Communist Party condemned the president’s statements and his “inaction on energy costs that led to the closure of bakeries.”
Proof that the government is under pressure: a few hours after the joint press conference, the Minister of Economy announced the possibility for bakers to cancel their energy contract for free in the event of a “prohibitive” increase. This device will be reserved for them, unlike other aids.
“We help all small businesses that are struggling with the price of energy. Bakeries are one of them. There is a media prism that we hear more about them because their example speaks volumes,” we provide the office of Minister Olivia Grégoire. SME and Trade representative.
“It can blow up campaigns”
The argument hardly convinces Stéphane Ravacley. The baker, who ran for environmental protection in the last legislative election, made national media headlines in January 2021 after he began a hunger strike to fight an expulsion order targeting his apprentice.
“Politicians are waking up today because they feel that France is collapsing and we are often the last social link in the countryside. Allowing us to die could cause the countryside to explode,” says the master.
With the government announcing pension reforms just days away, the executive is keen to avoid any social disaster amid rising household electricity prices and record inflation. In particular, on January 7, a call for the demonstration of the yellow vests was launched.
The government, anxious to calm the situation, will send a “personalised” letter to bakers in France in the coming days to encourage them to take advantage of the aid already in place.
“Traders can be a real sounding board with customers. Of course, if we can avoid fighting with every baguette sold, we are very interested. And it is France that works a lot and resonates a lot in the collective imagination”, deciphers the Renaissance deputy.
Is there a risk of going overboard? That’s Herve Novelli’s fear, anyway. The former secretary of state for crafts under Jacques Chirac denounces “the risk of a sense of injustice in the coming weeks”.
One who rose to self-employment in the 2000s says: “Other sectors have been hit hard. The feeling that bakers are part of our daily lives is correct, but be careful not to prioritize the challenges of some over others.”
Meanwhile, the PACA region, led by Macronist Renaud Muselier, has already announced targeted aid to bakers.