Jean Castex, who will soon be appointed the head of RATP, denies that he wants to be “transferred”.

We know the former prime minister Jean Castex railway, which means he is passionate about the world of railways. Still, Matignon’s former tenant would surely dream of a better context to head up the Autonomous Paris Transport Authority (RATP) sought by Emmanuel Macron.

Driver shortages leading to endless waits at bus stops and crowded subways, pressure from regional president (LR) Valéry Pécresse on RATP, concerns about the transport plan for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, the opening of competition from the bus network in 2025. and as a “welcome gift”, a day off on Thursday, which promises to be very popular: the challenges that await the future head of the board, the 70,000 employees of the world’s third largest urban transport operator, are many.

“I don’t underestimate them at all. This is not meant to discourage me. If I dare, I would say that it encouraged me, “said Jean Castex boldly before the regional planning committee of the Senate, which heard him this Wednesday morning before the second major oral speech. Before the same committee of the National Assembly. If 3/5 of the relevant parliamentarians vote against, its destination could be blocked, which would be a big surprise.

He promises to consider HATVP’s opinion

While recognizing Jean Castex’s “ability and appetite” for the job, the senators grilled him several times about the reservations made by the High Authority for the Transparency of Public Life (HATVP). The body, which was created in 2013 after the Cahuzac case, did not oppose his appointment, but asked him to “refrain from any approach to his former government team for three years” under the name of fighting against conflicts of interest. A ban for the less comical, as it concerns Elizabeth Borne in Matignon or the Minister of Transport, Clément Bone.

In this regard, Jean Castex wanted to be reassured by explaining that he too was “concerned” by these observations and therefore personally sought clarification from Didier Migaud, president of the HATVP, to which he replied by mail. “I note that these restrictions only apply to the opening of Paris public transport to competition,” the former head of government emphasized. Therefore, I will be able to appeal to the Minister of the Interior on security issues, to the Minister of Economy regarding energy prices or salary negotiations, and I will be completely in line with the opinion of the HATVP. »

“Well Oiled Post Waltz”

Jean Castex also notes that the procedures for opening to competition are the responsibility of Île-de-France Mobilités and the regional president, which he has committed to meeting as soon as possible. “These choices will not have to be made by my former government colleagues,” he said. However, an argument that did not convince Federal Ministry FO Transport Jean-Christophe Delprat. “What will German or Italian competitors say when they lose the market to RATP? It could be a sign of favoritism. This creates a legal risk for the company, which worries us for the future. »

During this first major oral speech, the senators also referred several times to accusations that Jean Castex had “taken back” former ministers and followers of Emmanuel Macron. “A well-oiled and very useful post waltz at the start of a five-year term,” criticized Socialist Senator Joël Bigot. “The message sent by the President of the Republic will help further alienate our compatriots from public affairs,” Senator LR Didier Mandelli also worried.

In this regard, Castex, the candidate chosen to chair France’s Transport Infrastructure Financing Agency in mid-August, defended itself against any withdrawal. “My purpose is not to seek position or honor, but to be useful,” he assured. I’m not going to move. Usually, we move to sinecures, I’m not quite sure we’re on that…”

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