It is a marathon morning that the Prime Minister started in Rennes on Tuesday 15 March. Jean Castex left the school of Jacques Prévert to sign the specific agreement for the transfer of the Brittany languages and then took a walk before the elections at the vocational school Coëtlogon, before continuing his visit to the prefecture for the signing of the contract state -Region Plan (CPER) 2022-2027. Half a day dedicated to the rapprochement between the Region and the State. And a good opportunity to send some resounding and stumbling signals from the executive branch to the Bretons as the presidential election looms. Macronie wants to pamper the region that was voted best for Emmanuel Macron in 2017.
Bad luck for the “storytelling”, this day was mainly marked by the announcement of the covid-19 infection of Jean-Yves Le Drian,
the Minister of Foreign Affairs. But occupied by the war in Ukraine, he did indeed accompany the prime minister when he heard that he was positive.
It was during his speech leading up to the signing of the CPER that Jean Castex announced the contagion of his minister, relegating the rest of his comments to the background. However, this CPER, which amounted to 970 million euros (1.6 billion euros with the appropriations already granted), emerged from a hard battle, after tensions and delays mainly related to the electoral context. “This is the last CPER in this form,” said Loïg Chesnais-Girard, President of the Regional Council. We need to devise a new way of formalizing the relations between the regions and the state. † For example, we succeeded on the maritime side, but only in combat, in energy. (…) The aim is not to turn the tenacity of local elected officials into annoyance seen from Paris.”
Mobility absent in the CPER
In the maritime field, which was the subject of important discussions in a post-Brexit context, the CPER finally authorized the release of an envelope of 47 million euros to the Region. But the main priority of the contract remains higher education, research and innovation, for which an envelope of EUR 400 million will be paid.
On the other hand, agriculture and mobility, although central in Brittany, are not part of it. “Critical” topics for the right-wing group and the center Hissons haut la Bretagne at the regional council, which did not approve this contract. “Nothing for agriculture, and more specifically for livestock, which is the foundation of our economy, but has structural weaknesses exacerbated by the side effects of the war in Ukraine. Nothing for mobility, to put Brest and Quimper 3 hours from Paris by train, to reopen daily rail lines such as Morlaix-Roscoff, Auray-Quiberon, Saint-Brieuc-Loudéac…”, regrets Stéphane de Sallier Dupin, Regional Opposition Adviser and chairman of the regional finance committee.
Another attempt to strengthen the ties between the region and the state, Jean Castex signed a little earlier the specific agreement for the transfer of the languages of Brittany at the Jacques Prévert school. In the presence of Deputy and Regional Councilor Paul Molac and Regional Vice-President in charge of Brittany’s languages Christian Troadec, the Prime Minister recalled his Catalan ties. “Having a prime minister elected from an area where identity, language and heritage are major assets was not indifferent to the perception I had of the subject.”
“Words are good, now we wait for deeds”
The text aims to develop and in particular increase the transmission of regional languages (Breton and Gallo) from 19,000 students learning Breton to 30,000 by 2027. “Words are good, now we are waiting for actions”, said Ana Sohier, elected from the Autonomous Group Breizh has gleiz to the regional council. “This year there are only two positions at Capes de Breton”. I’m not sure if the two Breton songs the children of the Jacques Cartier school chanted against Matignon’s tenant were enough to reassure her.