will the bakers make a revolution?
Will the bakers march on Paris? Some dream of it. On January 23, the collective for the survival of baking and crafts calls for demonstrations in the capital. Another collective, La boulangerie à poil, will be participating. These professionals invite other artists to join them. They accuse the state of not supporting them enough. They claim that they want to “change the course of history”.
We are not there and we are far from it. But the government treats their movement very seriously. He will write to each of the 33,000 bakers. The state multiplies gestures and devices. According to Elisabeth Borne, this can cover 40% of bakers’ electricity bills. The government is also putting pressure on energy suppliers. He asks them to support the artists. Bakers will be able to cancel their electricity contract free of charge in the event of a prohibitive increase. The government is doing everything to show that it will not let these traders go.
The problem is real and acute. Currently, bakeries are closing due to inflation. Masters renew their electrical contract every one or two years. The price of energy for them depends on the market. When you fly, the score also flies; it can be multiplied by two, four, six. It all depends on when they signed the previous contract. Add raw materials, ingredients to make bread. The price of butter and flour is skyrocketing. Some artists are literally stuck. They can’t pay anymore. They must lower the curtain. In many villages, the bakery is the only business still open. A place to live, meet. Also a sign of good economic health. A guarantee of attractiveness. Closure is a sign of recession.
Bread is a very political product
At least since the revolution, all leaders know that bread is very important. It should be affordable and not too expensive. When a baguette is no longer 1 euro, but 1 euro 10 or 1 euro 20, the French immediately notice it. You cannot imagine a more specific political topic. That is why the government is reacting. He, of course, refers to the movement of the yellow vests and its starting point. At that time, it was the price of gasoline, not bread. And the feeling of abandonment.
There are also more political aspects to this case. The baker who created the collective is engaged in politics. His name is Frederick Roy. He runs a shop in Nice. He does a lot of interviews. He doesn’t just show his accounts. He has a whole speech about Europe’s energy failure and French sovereignty. Who supports him? Locally, Eric Ciotti, deputy of the Alpes-Maritimes, also … president of the Republicans. But nationally, above all else, it is the National Gathering that beats. Jordan Bardella just posted a “Letter to the Bakers of France”. He writes to them: “The product you produce is not just a consumer product, but a source of national pride.” He promises to protect them. He accuses the chief executive. He does not eat bread.
The government sees these attacks. For now, it responds with targeted help. But it is at risk: the contagion of lawsuits. Other specialists are already applying for additional help. Restaurant owners explain that they, like bakers, struggle to pay the bills. This is Pandora’s box. For several months, the state has been trying to reduce its massive support to the economy. Officially, the “whatever it takes” policy is behind us. The state can no longer afford it. How to support those with problems without writing new checks every day? Politically, it will be complicated. Tomorrow, Emmanuel Macron will receive the bakers at the Elysee. The meeting has been planned for a long time. It has nothing to do with inflation. This is the traditional way of galette des rois. There are no beans in this pancake. But this year has a bitter taste.