Paris (AFP)

Long neglected, ecology is making a comeback in LR software, which is struggling to develop a "responsible, pragmatic and human" vision in the face of EELV as 2022 approaches.

"We all share the idea of ​​a climate and environmental emergency", summarizes the boss of deputies LR Damien Abad, who on Wednesday launched an "environmental task force" in charge of working on energy, mobility or even green taxation .

"The right must embody a positive and concrete ecology, which preserves the purchasing power of the French", according to him.

With this in mind, LR is increasing its initiatives: "ecology mornings" with experts to get LR out of its "comfort zone", consultations with the general public ...

Saturday, the former Minister of Ecology Jean-Louis Borloo will be at the "Fête de la violette" of number 2 of LR Guillaume Peltier.

And on Sunday, the number 3 Aurélien Pradié launches in Marseille a "tour of France of the environment" to meet, for a year, elected officials, agricultural actors and associations.

The inflection, already initiated at the beginning of the year with two forums on agriculture and food, is asserting itself as the party has focused more on sovereign or economic subjects in recent years.

"Since 2012, the right has not worked enough on the subject," sighs an elected official.

"We're bad," said another.

A poll ordered by LR from Ifop confirms this: 67% of French people (and 52% of right-wing supporters) believe that "today, no right-wing party embodies ecology".

Yet the right lays claim to Georges Pompidou, who created the first environment ministry, or Jacques Chirac with his message "the house is on fire" and recalls "the Grenelle de l'Environnement" launched by Nicolas Sarkozy.

The deputy Philippe Gosselin even puts forward "a sensitivity on these themes from the 19th century in social Catholicism, especially in agricultural circles in the West".

- "Ideologists" -

During the universities of re-entry in September, the leaders of LR were struck to hear of speak of "decrease" during a round table.

A speech certainly ultra "minority", but "unimaginable a few years ago", underlines Aurélien Pradié.

"We feel a gap between the expectations of young people and us, the party. It is urgent that we build a discourse on the defense of the environment, which is offensive and not defensive," said party treasurer Daniel Fasquelle.

Is there a space for the right on this ground a priori favorable to the Greens?

At LR, we note that on the question of "confidence" to conduct an ecological policy, LR, LREM and the PS are on an equal footing with 28 to 29% of people surveyed by Ifop, certainly far from 55% of 'EELV.

But "ecology cannot be confiscated by a few ideologues who have a dogmatic and sectarian vision," says Mr. Abad.

One of the challenges is to stand out from the Greens, who drove LR out of several major cities during the last municipal elections - and the recent comments from EELV mayors on the Christmas tree (in Bordeaux) or the polluting Tour de France ( in Lyon) have been widely mocked: "the caricature of bobo, disconnection, detestation of the popular classes", assures Mr. Pradié.

But if it is necessary "to designate who is our adversary", it is also a question of "knowing at bottom which society one wants", explains the deputy Julien Aubert, author in February of a "Green Book" pleading for a humanist ecology and concerned with scientific progress.

Mr. Peltier had mentioned to him in the spring a vast relocation plan and a "Marshall Plan" for rurality, with a reduction in VAT on short circuits.

Because to the “punitive” ecology of EELV, the LR right intends to oppose its “positive”, pragmatic vision, anchored in the territories and carried on a daily basis by elected officials.

The Ifop poll also gives an idea of ​​the avenues to be explored for the right, considered more credible on the development of industrial production "made in France", the defense of agriculture, or the development of renewable or nuclear energies.

© 2020 AFP