Paris (AFP)

Jean Castex unveiled Wednesday in his declaration of general policy his measures to "resolder" France shaken by the coronavirus crisis, by erecting the "fight against unemployment" as an "absolute" priority at the end of the quinquennium and by insisting on the role of the territories.

Facing the deputies for his big oral 12 days after taking office, the Prime Minister affirmed that his "first ambition, immense" will be to "reconcile these France so different, to weld them or to reweld them".

In this perspective, he developed the main lines of the last two years of the quinquennium: employment, efficiency of public action, economic sovereignty, ecological transition, social protection ...

Mr. Castex also outlined the outlines of the 100 billion euro recovery plan, planned for the start of the school year, which will focus on "economic recovery" and the territories.

About 40 billion euros will be earmarked for industry, he said, arguing that France had reached "a level of dependence that is not reasonable".

Twenty billion will be spent on thermal renovation of buildings and green technologies. And the recovery plan will carry "a very ambitious bike plan", he promised, pleading for "ecological growth" in the face of "green decline".

Mr. Castex also wanted urban renewal work to be launched in 300 of the 450 districts selected "by the end of 2021".

The Prime Minister, who portrays himself as a man of the territories, sent them signals announcing that all job creation of civil servants will be in the departmental services, and not in the central administrations. And a "right to differentiation" will soon be enshrined in an organic law.

Young people are particularly targeted on the social side, with the announcement of meals at one euro for scholarship students in university restaurants and the increase in the back-to-school allowance of 100 euros.

Six billion will be invested in the health system, added Mr. Castex, who on Monday signed salary increases for caregivers.

As for the pension reform, it remains "necessary" but it will be necessary to distinguish the "financial measures", assured Mr. Castex.

Finally, the Prime Minister insisted on "the republican pact", underlining the "major concern" of the government to fight against radical Islamism. A bill to "fight against separatism" must be presented at the start of the school year.

And Mr. Castex also wanted to create "in the territories of local judges" who will be responsible for repressing the "incivilities of everyday life", by promising a "firm response".

© 2020 AFP