Politics: Elisabeth Borne or the art of negotiation

Matignon Tenant, who led the end of the discussions on pension reform, has a reputation as a great negotiator. This was confirmed by his interlocutors who regretted the little room for maneuver left by the Elysée.

When someone inquisitive asked her to sum up her last weeks, an expression appeared before her before any others: headache… On this sunny Friday, three days after the announcement of the pension reform, Élisabeth Borne nevertheless looked rested. He yawned less, ate more… A form of serenity appeared on his face, as if most of the work was behind him. His mission, in fact, when he was appointed to the Matignon was to negotiate with social partners, and representatives of political parties, to bring about the most consensual reforms possible.

His CV was then submitted by the Élysée. The former Transport Minister presided over the first major reform of Emmanuel Macron’s first five-year term: a railway reform that prepared the SNCF for competition. Then as Minister of Labor he often received social partners. Since his appointment, members of the government have repeated in chorus: Covered? He is an excellent negotiator! Does the Prime Minister really live up to his legend?

“He has more humor than I imagined, he is no fun”, agrees Insoumis Eric Coquerel. But humor isn’t everything. “He’s very nice, it’s great to talk to him but he’s out of hands”, smiles a centrist elected official who has to meet him often. Éric Woerth insists: “to be a good negotiator you have to know how far you can go without breaking the system, respect your interlocutor, you need flexibility but most importantly you have to have room to maneuver. Elisabeth Borne must have negotiated more with the Elysée than she did with the unions. He did well to propose to the 64 year old. It doesn’t fundamentally change anything but it does show that he’s been making a gesture.

He denied having to negotiate with the President, preferring to say that they thought together and tried together to find the right solution. And Elisabeth Borne loves to think as she talks, challenging herself in discussions, both with the President and with elected officials and unions. When an idea came up that seemed appealing to him, he scribbled on a piece of paper he always carried with him and then dug into its feasibility. This is where the idea for increasing the pensions of today’s pensioners came from.

Disappointed with Laurent Berger

“I believe that you are not the only person with good ideas and if you don’t listen you can make mistakes. We must therefore listen, find a way to sometimes reconcile the irreconcilable, ”he assures La Dépêche. He insisted, for example, that pushing back the retirement age as demanded by the right or extending the contribution period, as demanded by the left, would be unjust and by combining the two we arrive at balanced reforms. “I believe our country can progress if we know how to listen to each other,” he concluded.

Proof by example, all of his interlocutors did praise the listening skills of Matignon’s tenants. “I have received more in 4 months than in 15 years of a parliamentary career”, smiles Bertrand Pancher, president of the Freedom and Territory (LIOT) group in the National Assembly. “Élisabeth Borne is a very open person, who has a real sense of dialogue. He spends a lot of time with his interlocutors,” he assures us. But Meuse’s representative stressed “he is deeply shackled by President Macron’s commitments which he has not managed to change. When I told him you shouldn’t get hung up on age, he replied: I understand you. But he has no free time. It must always refer to the Élysée”.

However, according to the Prime Minister, the time spent negotiating with each other will not be wasted. Over the weeks the government has given itself, it claims to have integrated many of the proposals from the CFDT into the bill. He also said he was a bit disappointed with Laurent Berger who, hearing him, knew the time he spent there.

But Elisabeth Borne wasn’t fooled and knew the game of politics too well to be truly angry. From now on, a pedagogical period will open that is no longer entirely on his shoulders. The ministers are all responsible for multiplying the entire region to explain and explain again so that anger does not paralyze the country for too long.

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