“Mr. President, you have a message”

Every day at 7 pm, find “Behind the scenes”, our column on the underside of political life.

Almost 1,200 letters per day! There is only one recipient, Emmanuel Macron. As for the sender, it is France. Citizens who take up pen or send e-mails from all over the country to sometimes express their concerns, more rarely their satisfaction, and, very often, their anger.

To handle this extraordinary correspondence, around a hundred full-time officials. A summary of these thousands of messages is written every week and deposited in the office of the Head of State. This document, which has nothing to envy the most expensive polls, offers a rise in the mood of the country.

And the latest notes presented to Emmanuel Macron deliver a gripping lesson. The French express very strong anguish about, first, the terrorist threat, then the economic crisis… but much less about the health crisis, which passed, this fall, to the background of the great anxieties. The risks to our health frighten us less than Islamism, unemployment and the threat of cascading bankruptcies.

This is all the difficulty for Emmanuel Macron and his government, who are preparing, this Tuesday, to “soften”, but not to “deconfin”. Enforce restrictive measures for our freedoms and our trade in order to save lives while the French are less likely to be afraid of the virus. If you were still wondering why no one is applauding at 8 p.m., now you have the answer.

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