Criticisms of Arnaud Montebourg on Florange: “He is wrong and by making a mistake we can lie”, answers François Hollande

The former president defends the action he led in Florange and affirms that today “there are more employees than there were in 2012”. He also refuses the ease of throwing the responsibilities of a certain state paralysis onto the public service.

“He is wrong and by making a mistake we can lie”François Hollande said Friday, November 13 on France Inter. Pointed out by Arnaud Montebourg in his book L’Engagement and accused by his former Minister of the Economy of having abandoned Florange despite his campaign promises, the former head of state explains: “There was no longer any solution other than to close the blast furnaces, we knew that”.

“What was my goal for Florange? I ask that we verify it in all its translation, defends François Hollande. There was the need to have no layoffs, no social plan and that there could be a reinvestment on the site which could allow job creation ”.

Still according to François Hollande who claims to have read the extracts from Arnaud Montebourg’s book which “could [le] concern ”, the former President of the Republic continues: “The politician demanded from the shareholder, in this case Arcelor Mittal, that there be no social plan, that there are no redundancies, that there are more than 200 million euros of investment and that there is a new technology that is put in place in place of blast furnaces. These objectives have been achieved. It’s still a paradox, because everyone talks about Florange as if it had finally been a step back. No. It was a safeguard, Florange. And today you can go to Florange. You will see that there are more employees than there were in 2012 ”. Arnaud Montebourg a “Factually wrong and his line is wrong”, explained François Hollande.

Concerning the passage of Arnaud Montebourg on the “Bercy agree”, the high and irremovable public office against which “Even the one who has the greatest political will does not have the power”, a kind of deep state present in France, François Hollande replies: “It’s a facility. That doesn’t mean it’s totally wrong. There is of course a high civil service which is in a kind of permanence and which thinks to embody the State in the place of the politicians. All this exists, the fact that there is a caste of high officials who often come from the same bodies and who try to make a thesis prevail. This is reality and I have faced it ”.

And the former head of state to continue: “Arnaud Montebourg was minister at Bercy. So it was up to him – if he thought he was upset – to impose his views and he could. Myself, President of the Republic, when I felt that there were reticent or resistant, I defeated them, perhaps not enough. So the question is: does the politician want to take his place or on the contrary, does he give in a little easily to the lawsuit against the civil service? And in this thesis, what I fear and always regret in the democratic question is that we say: since the public service is not obedient, since it is in fact the same people, the deep state, we only have to change it at each election of president. American model therefore, ‘spoil System’, with people who will come from the private sector to spend a few years in the public service. I refuse to do so. I want an independent and neutral position ”, he concludes.