Deficit, debt: Bruno Le Maire counterattacks

Posted Jul 29, 2022, 3:59 PM

Many figures were on the menu of the last Council of Ministers before the summer break this Friday. Bruno Le Maire has, in fact, presented France’s “stability program”, this document which outlines the trajectory of public finances for the five-year term, and which must be sent to the European Commission in the coming weeks. He then spoke about the budgetary strategy for the period 2022-2027.

“Our trajectory is credible and responsible,” insisted the minister, in response to the scathing opinion issued by the High Council of Public Finances (HCFP), a body attached to the Court of Auditors. The latter has indeed pinned the government for its lack of “ambition” in terms of the deficit, pointing to the fact that the objective of returning below 3% (of GDP) will wait until 2027 while several comparable European countries are considering it from 2025. “We have shown that we know how to keep our commitments”, pleaded Bruno Le Maire, with supporting examples.


“Yes, we believe in the possibility of improving French growth through reforms,” ​​continued the Minister, who was proud of the resilience of growth in the second quarter: after having fallen by 0.2%, it ci rebounded 0.5%.

“Growth will allow us to restore our accounts”, insisted the minister, while the financial magistrates considered the macroeconomic assumptions too optimistic, with an increase in GDP expected at 1.4% next year and 1.8% by 2027. “Let us show voluntarism, not pessimism, let us show determination, not resignation!” launched Bruno Le Maire.

Pension reform

If growth is an essential lever to return to the nails of the European Stability Pact, structural reforms are another. The Bercy tenant reiterated that “the pension reform will come into effect in the summer of 2023”. “We are determined to transform the French economic model,” he insisted.

Last lever to maintain the “framework” set for the 2022-2027 period: control of expenditure. The objective of growth contained at 0.6% per year, in volume, “all administrations combined”, has been reaffirmed. Bercy had explained a week earlier that this would go through a reduction in the volume of expenditure of the State (-3% for the ministries in 2023) and local authorities.


“Each euro counts”, repeats Bruno Le Maire, for two weeks, to parliamentarians who are examining the legislative package of 20 billion euros on purchasing power. However, the serious budget displayed by the government does not convince everyone.

“France has returned to its 2019 level of GDP but has kept a budget deficit of that of the crisis: 178 billion euros against 93 billion in 2019. Each new revenue finds a new expenditure: impossible to reduce the deficit like that” , denounces Senator LR Jérôme Bascher on Twitter.

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