“It is imperative to make youth a priority for the five-year term”

La Croix: Never before has the far right reached such a level in a presidential election. What lesson does Secours Catholique, who had called for a blockade of Marine Le Pen, draw from this?

Véronique motto: At Secours Catholique, where half of the people received are of foreign origin, this score, which refers to the rejection of foreigners, worries us. Immigrants have become the scapegoats for all the problems of our society. We see the issue of immigration only from a security point of view. However, we could really solve the problem differently.

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I’m not saying that all foreigners should be regularized, but once they get there, they should be welcomed with dignity. If you teach enough French, give training, you are human enough, people find their place and there is no problem. On our side, however, we do not even respect their fundamental rights. If you think that on the Italian border or along the Channel, from Normandy to Dunkirk, no official structure offers food or showers… In Calais it took a legal battle to get it.

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This score also shows that, in addition to the classic far-right electorate, some of Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s voters, undoubtedly including some people living in poverty, voted for Marine Le Pen. Many people are in pain and feel unheard. At the very least, their expertise should be taken into account when developing public policy towards them.

The associations believe that Emmanuel Macron’s record has been disappointing in the fight against poverty. How do you approach this second mandate?

DV: The balance sheet of Emmanuel Macron’s first five-year term is very thin. For this second term, it is imperative to make young people weakened by the health crisis a priority. In his poverty strategy, Emmanuel Macron wanted to focus on children and young people. But apart from the youth employment contract, which extends the existing youth guarantee, there is not much.

Moreover, this employment contract, which provides support plus compensation for a maximum of eighteen months, is not sufficient. These young people, who often live in a family setting, need longer support. Between the ages of 18 and 25 it is really an opportunity to try and lift them out of poverty. After that everything gets more difficult. We are in favor of opening the RSA from the age of 18 and of tailor-made guidance.

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Families in poverty with children also suffer a lot and should be given priority. One in five children grows up in a poor family. With the RSA, parents have nothing to do but constantly arbitrate between paying rent, buying food, or paying a bill. We must break this infernal spiral. We ask for the revaluation of the RSA, first at the level of the poverty line (730 € against 575 € for a single person at the moment), gradually bringing it to 50% of the median income, or about 900 €.

Emmanuel Macron has already indicated that he believes that the way out of poverty should not go through monetary compensation, but through work. You do not agree ?

DV: Most people living in poverty want to work, participate in society. But on the one hand, some cannot work immediately due to health problems, their distance from the labor market … On the other hand, it must be understood that they are entangled with the RSA in a race for survival and cannot project themselves into orbit.

If, as Emmanuel Macron has indicated, the RSA sets conditions for an activity, training, internship, then this should not be a sanction, but a springboard to get out of poverty. It is therefore necessary that this activity, which involves babysitting, paying for the cafeteria, travelling, is reimbursed in addition to the RSA. We will therefore be vigilant.

On the other hand, the automatic payment of social benefits seems to us to be a good thing. At Secours Catholique, a third of the people received do not rely on the support for which they are eligible. The fact that you no longer have to ask for it is a real plus.

→ FIND the results of the second round of the 2022 presidential election, municipality by municipality

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