Eventful opening of the 60ᵉ Salon de l’agriculture

Steve Told Us

The French President was greeted by jeers and whistles at the Parc des expositions at Porte de Versailles. He cut the inaugural ribbon 5 hours late after debating with union representatives.

“Macron resigns”. “Macron sold out to Europe”. Not since the opening of the Salon de l’Agriculture, in 1964, had we seen or heard this. A French president booed by farmers on the opening day of France’s largest farm in Paris.
Arriving at 8 a.m., Emmanuel Macron had breakfast with union representatives in a closed-door salon. But already, clashes between farmers and large numbers of police broke out outside the show. Then inside. This made it difficult for the President to cut the famous inaugural tricolor ribbon.

Turn of events

He then improvised a debate lasting almost two hours with union representatives. It was a tough, straightforward, no-nonsense debate, in which we told each other everything, frankly, eye-to-eye, talking low to the whiskers. It’s an art in which Emmanuel Macron excels. He loves a good fight, and has mastered the art of the stage show. He undoubtedly succeeded in imposing himself, appeasing the anger of those around him and turning the situation to his advantage. The President gave his interlocutors an appointment “in three weeks, at home” to take stock of the progress made on his commitments.

“I’m going to open this show, calm or not calm”.

After that, he had to go down into the arena, determined to “open the show, calm or no calm”. As the whistles grew louder, the President made his way down to the breeders’ stands, chatting with some of them, sampling a piece of cheese along the way, shaking hands and answering new questions. Then the tricolor ribbon was cut with heavy scissors. A little further on, in an alleyway, new scuffles broke out with the police. The President continued his stroll through the stands of farmers from all over France.

Announcements and a meeting

Spurred on by three weeks of anger from farmers, the French President made a number of commitments to representatives of agricultural unions. First of all, he expressed his wish to protect farmers’ incomes by introducing minimum prices as part of a new law governing relations between food industry players.
In view of the difficulties faced by some farms, the President indicated that, as early as next week, the ministers concerned would be bringing together the banks concerned and the various players to set up cash-flow plans.
More broadly, he intends to have agriculture and food recognized in law as a “major general interest for France”.
President Sarkozy has announced that in three weeks’ time, he will convene a meeting at the Élysée Palace with “all the trade unions and all the agricultural sectors” in an attempt to respond to farmers’ anger.