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This will be the last major reform of the five-year term. Emmanuel Macron confirmed, Thursday April 8 in front of six hundred senior officials gathered by videoconference, that he intended to lead “A deep revolution” of the senior civil service. Recruitment, training, careers, everything will be there. Starting with the establishment that has been training them since 1945: the National School of Administration (ENA), which will be abolished and replaced by a “Public Service Institute”. This vast overhaul was announced at the presidential press conference in April 2019, given at the end of the “yellow vests” crisis.

Twelve months before the presidential election, nothing is trivial. And this emblematic reform allows Emmanuel Macron to kill several birds with one stone. First, it shows that it continues to change the country. The crisis of “yellow vests”, the movement against pension reform and then the viral epidemic do not undermine the reform will of the President of the Republic. And, after a year of anesthesia, politics therefore takes back its rights.

Emmanuel Macron is in a hurry to reconnect with the spirit of the 2017 campaign, placed under the sign of mistrust of the elite and equal opportunities. The reform of the senior civil service offers him a formidable symbol. “As in 1945, we are living a historic moment, did he declare. 75 years ago, our exhausted country emerged from two wars with the immense challenge of reconstruction before it. ENA was created. We have structured our senior public service. In 2021, our country is facing a historic pandemic. Our duty is to know how to answer them with the same sense of history. ”

Read also the tribune: Debate on the ENA: we must “bring the recruitment of civil servants back into line with the times”

First mea culpa

Haunted by the mistrust expressed in the country, Emmanuel Macron considers that“We will remake France if the elites and the base recognize each other, understand each other, act hand in hand”. He wants to show that he has learned the lessons of the “yellow vests” movement, as well as of the health crisis. On Thursday afternoon, he invited senior officials to the “Lucidity”, recalling “Our inadequacies, sometimes our failures”. First mea culpa.

Its opponents, however, see it mainly as opportunism. Julien Aubert, deputy for Les Républicains de Vaucluse and enarque, considers that Emmanuel Macron “Is a man of symbol. The real interests him little. What interests him is to use symbols to make people believe that things are progressing ”. Announce the abolition of the ENA, “It is a way of shedding one’s own responsibility and hiding the failure of one’s policy”.

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