a stage in front of the deputies on an uncertain path

This is a necessary step before the referendum announced by Emmanuel Macron, which remains fraught with uncertainties: the National Assembly is looking from Tuesday on the bill to make it possible to integrate environmental protection into the Constitution .

Nearly 400 amendments are submitted until Thursday to parliamentarians, who discussed a long sequence devoted to the environment. Because in parallel with this text in the hemicycle, they attacked Monday in committee the examination of the climate bill containing a host of provisions, from housing to advertising.

All these measures have in common that they come from the proposals of the Citizen’s Convention for the Climate (CCC), which the Head of State undertook to take up “without filter”.

On the front of the Constitution, he rejected a modification of the preamble. For Article 1, which lays down the founding principles of the Republic (equality, secularism, etc.), it has retained the following inscription: France “guarantees the preservation of the environment and biological diversity and the fight against climate deregulation”.

The president of RN Marine Le Pen, who also intends to invest this field in view of the presidential election of 2022, will present in the morning Tuesday a “counter-draft referendum” in fifteen questions on ecology.

The member for Pas-de-Calais has already denounced a “political maneuver” in the initiative of Emmanuel Macron.

LFI leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon announced that he would vote “no” to this French consultation equated with “manipulation”.

On the right, the boss of deputies LR Damien Abad pointed to an “instrumentalisation of ecology for political ends”.

The constitutional revision project should nevertheless be validated without incident in the Assembly during a solemn vote on March 16, thanks to the votes of the majority and at least of a large part of the left.

– “narrow gauge” –

But this is only the beginning: for the organization of a referendum (article 89 of the Constitution), the text must be adopted in identical terms by deputies and senators. The upper house must take the text in May, and September seems “the natural horizon” to let the French decide.

If it materializes, the referendum would be the first to be held in France since 2005, which focused on the European Constitution and saw the victory of the “no”.

The President of the Senate Gérard Larcher (LR) set his conditions, and warned against any temptation to “make a move”. According to him, it is necessary in particular to privilege the verb “to act” to “to guarantee”.

“There will be discussion”, according to the boss of LREM deputies Christophe Castaner. And to tackle: “The conservatives must also seize on this subject of the fight against global warming, that does not belong to the left, to LREM, to the right”.

Conversely, deputies like the former Minister of Ecology and ex-socialist Delphine Batho will seek to include a principle of non-regression in terms of environmental preservation.

This principle is supported by environmental NGOs who consider the current text as “largely symbolic”, like a “green rag brandished” to “make people forget the catastrophic record of the government” according to Greenpeace.

This bill is also the occasion or never for parliamentarians to bring up other subjects, from proportionality for legislative elections to the deletion of the word “race” in the Constitution – with the risk of a “sausage fair. amendments, “according to a minister who fears that the debates will get bogged down.

In the eyes of the deputy with ecological fiber Matthieu Orphelin, the main pitfall is above all that the shuttle with the Senate drags and that the referendum is made impossible with the approach of the presidential election. “Does the government really want to go to the end?” Asks this ex-LREM, suggesting rather an adoption via the Parliament meeting in Congress in the summer.

“A referendum gives strength but it is complex, the way is narrow with the Senate”, recognizes a person in charge of the majority, who does not want to summon the French “at any price”.

The Assembly had already voted in July 2018 to include the “preservation of the environment” in Article 1 of the supreme standard, as then desired by Minister Nicolas Hulot, during the aborted project of reform of the institutions.

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