On the initiative of the President of the Republic, the Government ran the Grand Débat National from January to March 2019. The debate covered four themes reflecting the major national issues: taxation and public spending, the organization of public services, ecological transition, and democracy and citizenship. The aim was to give everyone the chance to debate issues that are crucial to French people, in a number of different ways:
- Locally-run meetings where everyone could join in the public debate to have their say and put their point across.
- Online contributions via granddebat.fr
- Stands set up in stations and post offices where everyone could submit their views on the debate’s topics.
- Themed national conferences were held, bringing together organizations representing civil society and local elected representatives.
- Citizens’ conferences were also held in the regions, with people selected at random in each region. The companies Missions Publiques and Res Publica took care of the moderation and methodology of these regional citizens’ conferences.
After several months of the Grand Débat National, the Prime Minister Edouard Philippe presented the conclusions at the Grand Palais on 8 April 2019. Before half of the government, the five “guarantors” of the debate, a hundred or so directors of public services, mayors, representatives of associations and social partners, Mr Philippe delivered the findings from the 16,000 registers of grievances and other contributions, the 10,000 local meetings and the 1.9 million contributions received via the online platform.
Each organizer presented the results from the parts of the debate they were responsible for. Listen to what Judith Ferrando, co-director of Missions Publiques had to say in the video below: