The 'yellow vests', though, don't seem to be content with how the 'debate' was conducted. According to them, the main problem of the 'debate' was the lack of proper discussion — the participants only had time for three-minute statements. Celine Crespin, a member of the 'yellow vests' and a senior technician in the Social Security Fund, began an alternative collection of people's proposals, which she discussed with Sputnik.
Sputnik: How was the "national debate" conducted in your city?
Celine Crespin: In Vendôme, four dates were set to discuss each of the given topics [environment, tax, the structure of the state, and democracy and citizenship]. The first meeting was attended by 'yellow vests' members and other citizens. We were told that we have three minutes to outline our demands. The problem was that we could not discuss anything among ourselves. Some simply read their short lists out loud. Sometimes they had very interesting topics. People wanted to respond, and most importantly — to interact. In short, argue! We wanted to formulate our demands in such a way that it would suit everyone. But the presenter stopped any attempt at discussion and passed the microphone to the next participant. The meeting went like this. 'National debates' without a debate… what is it?
Sputnik France: So you decided to organise an alternative collection of proposals?
Sputnik France: How did you organise everything?
Celine Crespin: Our administrators created an email address and a book of complaints at our so-called headquarters. Everyone, whether a yellow vest [member] or anyone else, could submit a proposal and discuss it. Within a few weeks, we'd collected 275 complaints. I don't like this word, but the government uses it with regard to the "national debate". We did the same.
Sputnik France: What did you do with these proposals?
Sputnik France: Which demands were the most popular?
Celine Crespin: Without going into details that can be clarified online, these are demands for revising the benefits and salaries of politicians or for raising the minimum wage. Many proposals related to the revision of the tax system, restoring the tax on luxury goods, so that it mostly concerned holders of capital rather than family real estate. The issue of indexing pensions to depend on inflation was also raised. You can read all the suggestions regarding immigration, the media and foreign policy online.
Sputnik France: What will happen next to the proposals?
Sputnik France: What do you expect from the results of the "great national debate"?
Celine Crespin: We understand perfectly well that we will not achieve anything. Government members are already preparing us for disappointment. We clearly set out our demands. Soon we will be able to compare our proposals with those of the government. We are not going to give in to anything, that's for sure.
The views and opinions expressed by the speaker do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.