Europe 1 with AFP 20:51 p.m., December 20, 2023

President Emmanuel Macron said on Wednesday that he was willing to "take the time" before presenting an end-of-life bill, now expected in February, after the presentation of a ten-year plan on palliative care.

"Sometimes I want to move quickly on topics. I took responsibility for it. In this case, I assume to take the time," said the head of state. On this text, which is as expected as it is sensitive, the executive has postponed the deadline several times, to the great displeasure of supporters of a change in legislation.

>> ALSO READ – End of life: lethal substance, reserved for adults... What's in the draft bill

After the citizens' convention on the end of life, which was mostly in favor of active assistance in dying, Emmanuel Macron had asked his ministers for a bill "before the end of the summer" of 2023. It will finally be presented in February 2024.

"We will not pass a law that affects children"

"The first thing we have to do is complete the French model of palliative care, by continuing to invest, by correcting the inequalities that exist in our territories," the president said on Wednesday. "We need to provide better support for pain, especially for children."

>> ALSO READ – End of life: palliative medicine is as important, if not more so, than the legalization of euthanasia

This first pillar will be deployed "in January" by Minister Agnès Firmin Le Bodo, who took the helm of the Ministry of Health on Wednesday "on an interim basis" after the resignation of Aurélien Rousseau. "In February, I will present the outlines of the text" on the end of life, Macron continued, specifying a few red lines.

"We will not pass a law that affects children," he said. "We're not going to pass a law that deals with psychiatric cases, mentally retarded people or people who want to commit suicide for mental health problems," he added.

"A dignified end of life and to have a response that is more appropriate"

"This law will treat our compatriots in adulthood who have their discernment and who have incurable diseases with suffering that is called refractory to treatment," he said. He cited the example of "someone who today has a hopeless degenerative disease, Charcot's disease, someone who has a cancer that is known to be incurable."

"We must give him the possibility, in conditions of deliberation with his family, in medically supervised conditions, to have a dignified end of life and to have a response that is more appropriate, more humane than the one we have today," Macron said.