The former President of the Republic examines our troubled world in his new book, Upheavals, published by Stock. The energy crisis, controversies, climate, the war in Ukraine, meetings with Putin, the future of Europe, the future of the left, Macron’s actions, the attempted attack in Nice where he will be heard as a witness, succession to the British throne .. François Hollande answers questions from Midi Libre.
Ukraine recovers against Putin’s troops. Will he lose the battle?
Yes, he will be gone. Especially if we continue to aid Ukraine militarily and financially and isolate it from the international scene despite its alliance with the Chinese President. But Russia is still able to mobilize large armed forces and increase its bombings of civilians.
So everything will depend on the abnegation of the Ukrainian people and our patience in the face of rising energy prices and the return of inflation. Putin hopes that the fatigue of public opinion and the divisions in Europe will lead us to release the pressure and therefore the sanctions.
Is Emmanuel Macron right to continue the dialogue with Mr. Poutine in this way?
He is right to be concerned about the situation at the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant. This is the subject of the bombing that will create a dramatic accident for a large part of the continent.
But talking about other topics now with Vladimir Putin seems premature for me, because he is retreating at the military level. Now is not the time to negotiate. We must wait until he is defeated and forced to withdraw from Ukraine.
Should Europe fear a new Chernobyl in Zaporizhia?
Yes, at the beginning of the conflict, Vladimir Putin expressed the threat of nuclear weapons, to impress us. He is now using the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant to warn us about the continuation of the conflict in this region and to push us to put pressure on Ukraine, at the risk of a serious accident.
You admit that Emmanuel Macron always had a lot of “indulgences” for Vladimir Putin …
A large part of the political class, from the right to the extreme right, without forgetting the LFI and Jean-Luc Mélenchon, has forms of indulgence about Vladimir Poutine. Remember their reactions when I canceled the delivery of helicopter carriers to Russia in 2015! Emmanuel Macron also thinks that by constantly talking with him and proposing a security architecture between the EU and Russia, it is possible to reduce Putin’s aggressiveness. This attempt ended with the invasion of Ukraine.
You have met Vladimir Putin several times. How long will his strategy of intimidating other heads of state last?
I mentioned in my book (Upheavals, at Stock) our many encounters. I learned two lessons from this: the first is that there is no possibility of fruitful discussion except on the basis of the balance of power. He only accepts a deal if he has to.
The second is that Vladimir Putin practices a perfect art of lying. Unbelievably this is amazing! He did this many times in front of me, when he confirmed that it was not Bashar al-Assad who poisoned his population with gas, or that he himself had no contact with the separatist leaders of Ukraine, or that Zelensky a Nazi. .
Will Chinese President Xi Jinping, who has sealed an agreement with Vladimir Putin, invade Taiwan?
China has entered into an eternal, full and unlimited alliance with Russia and is watching closely what is happening in Ukraine. If Moscow succeeds, Beijing will consider it possible to launch an offensive in Taiwan.
At the same time, many countries are knocking on the door of Europe. Should it be expanded?
No. There is no reason to speed up the current negotiations, except regarding the decisions taken regarding Ukraine and Moldova to involve them more. If there are new enlargements, especially in the countries of the Balkans, it is necessary to build within the larger Europe, a closer union, where the countries will develop faster in military issues, social, energy … The more Europe grows, the more it must be strong in its heart.
Faced with the energy crisis, is Macron making the right choices?
The government has spent a lot of money to pay for the increased energy costs, which has resulted in maintaining a lower level of inflation than our neighbors have seen.
But this aid is not sustainable, it should be more selective, directed to the middle and moderate categories, not to all consumers, it may not be sustainable at the budget level, not justified at the social level and doesn’t make sense on an ecological level.
Those who consume the most energy, usually the most benefited population, must pay a higher price.
The President of the Senate, Gérard Larcher (LR) points to your responsibility and to Mr. Macron in the loss of energy independence in France, the LR calls for a commission of inquiry. What is your answer?
This is wrong. I made the decision I admit to close Fessenheim. Both reactors were closed in 2018. To compensate for this closure, there should be an opening of the EPR in Flamanville, which is too late.
The annual maintenance of power plants has been postponed due to the pandemic, which has led to their current and eventual hardening, cracks have been observed in recent months, especially in the most recent reactors. This has led EDF to significant reviews.
But France has lost, with Fessenheim, a production lever and you emphasized in 2012, the reduction of the nuclear part, can you make the same choices today?
Yes, we need to increase renewables, we are still far from our goals, while ensuring the extension of nuclear power plants, even if the oldest ones have to close one day or another.
The new reactors, the EPRs, will only arrive in 2035, 2040, during this time, we will gradually end fossil fuels. We will need nuclear power for a long time and I am in favor of it. I remember that when there was Fukushima, a large part of the left did not want to get out of nuclear power.
Germany decided to close its power plants, as did Belgium, fortunately I decided to keep most of the French nuclear fleet.
You also called for a global climate pact…
Yes, this summer we suffered an alarming drought and devastating fires, Pakistan was flooded with thousands of deaths, African countries no longer have the means to secure their food. I realized the agreement in Paris, in 2015 (the COP21), we must improve our commitments to avoid the repetition of disasters.
“The influence of King Charles III can be used in favor of the climate cause, he is a pioneer”
Among the memories that François Hollande keeps of Elizabeth II, his state visit in 2014, on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the Landing remains engraved. “Then she went to Paris, she was warmly welcomed there, I have never seen such a dense crowd for the visit of a head of state, which proves the attachment of the French for a queen that is unique. to France, she confessed, and explained to me that the first one was made when she was not a queen, she had just married, in Paris in the early 1950s and she was interested in finding places that she knew as a young woman, as if to complete the cycle of her life.
Charles III? “He is one of the pioneers in terms of ecological knowledge, says the former President. “Even if his power is very limited, his influence can be used in favor of the climate cause”, he believes. .
The President of the Republic recently launched a National Council for Change to chart new horizons. What does this new institution inspire in you?
Emmanuel Macron realizes that consultation, dialogue and participation are necessary. Should it be done by inventing an institution, not by valuing the work of the Parliament, by trusting the Economic, Social and Environmental Council, and the local elected officials? I will evaluate the CNR by its results, it would be a shame if it only gave birth to ineffective meetings and conclusions.
You see in Mr. Macron is the incarnation of an opportunistic centrism, how can you qualify his balance after five years of exercise?
This is not the time for balances, he is in the situation of a Head of State whose mandate is irreversible, he can take risks, be brave, not act according to the emergency room. This is what was expected of him. He does not have an absolute majority in the Assembly, this can be a constraint, but also an opportunity to unite.
On the left, initiatives were taken, from Bernard Cazeneuve to Carole Delga, to find an alternative to Nupes. Who makes up the future?
I support all the initiatives that make it possible to change the left and to avoid it in the simple posture of protesting, singing, a development, it must regain its credibility. Time is not yet incarnate, it is initially necessary to create this force that can start from PS. If he refuses, if he unites with the LFI for the Europeans, the socialists, social democrats will never accept this confusion and then I think an organization will emerge.
Will you sign the manifesto of your former Prime Minister, Bernard Cazeneuve?
No, I am not the role, otherwise, as I organize my return, but I support it.
Will you attend the rally for the reconstruction of the left organized by Carole Delga in Bram (Aude) on September 25?
No, this is not my place. It’s up to Carole Delga to say now how she sees the future of the left.
Are you excluding a candidate for the presidential election, or another ballot?
I did not set myself up for any mandate search. The time for speculation, declarations has not yet come…
Great attack: “This is not a test of the State”
François Hollande will testify on October 10 in the attempt to attack Nice. “It is very painful for the families of the victims, it is important that I can make my contribution without knowing what the responsibility of the State is, not the test it has done, nor that of the City of Nice. , but what do we know of Islamic terrorism”, he explained. “I will show that there were very organized groups during the 2015 attacks, but that in Nice, in 2016, it was an individual, without the preparation of an organization, who did such a terrible attack, emphasized the former President. should serve as a lesson to us, we destroyed the Islamic State, we won a war against terrorism in Syria, Iraq and the one that hit us, but in the face of isolated, fanatic individuals, we still need to be very careful. .
He still hopes to ask about the level of security during “Undoubtedly they will be asked, the Minister of the Interior, the heads of the department that are in place will answer them. But during the Euro football season, we have already done the all for total security”, he explained.