At Bercy, a roadmap between protection and “relentless” control of the budget

The Minister of Economy Bruno Le Maire makes a statement, alongside Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne and Gabriel Attal, during the handover to the Ministry of Economy and Finance, on May 21, 2022 in Paris (AFP / Eric PIERMONT)

Protect “against inflation” while controlling public spending: the Ministers of Economy and Public Accounts detailed their roadmap on Saturday and called on companies to boost purchasing power.

“Our priority with Elisabeth Borne will be the protection of the French against inflation”, declared Bruno Le Maire (Economy, Finance, Industrial and Digital Sovereignty), promoted to number 2 in the government and endowed with an expanded portfolio after a first five-year term. already passed in Bercy.

“From tomorrow (Sunday, editor’s note) we will therefore get down to (…) the preparation of the bill on purchasing power” – in reality an amending budget which should be presented after the legislative elections of June 12 and 19 .

While the inflation rate approached 5% over one year in April, “I will receive economic players on Monday to study with them how they can also participate in protecting the French against rising prices”, said Bruno. The mayor.

– Distribute the “load” –

Among the guests at this meeting scheduled for Monday afternoon will be according to Bercy the main interprofessional employers’ organizations (Medef, CPME) and sectoral (Federation of Commerce and Distribution, French Building Federation).

“Inflation is obviously our first political and economic challenge.” But “everything must not rest on the State, the burden (of expenses, editor’s note) must be fairly distributed”, declared Bruno Le Maire.

Inflation in France since 2017

Inflation in France since 2017 (AFP/Sylvie HUSSON)

An appeal from the foot launched to companies so that they too contribute to stimulating purchasing power, for example via the so-called “Macron” bonus (whose president has promised to triple the ceiling), salary increases or “commitments sector” (branch agreements).

“To succeed in effectively protecting our compatriots, everyone must participate in the fight against inflation”, declared Mr. Le Maire, holder of the record for longevity in his post.

After having spent 26 billion euros to counter the soaring prices linked in particular to the war in Ukraine, the State is preparing to disburse several additional billions: general increase in civil servants, revaluation of pensions and social minima, food check or lower contributions for the self-employed are notably announced.

Hence Bercy’s call for companies to participate in the effort, when the public deficit reached 6.5% of gross domestic product at the end of 2021 and the debt 112.9% of GDP.

New Minister of Public Accounts, Gabriel Attal has also pledged to be “a relentless craftsman in keeping our public accounts”.

– Ministry of the “promise kept” –

“We must take the path of debt reduction,” insisted the former government spokesman, who succeeds Bercy to Olivier Dussopt, leaving for the Ministry of Labor.

Gabriel Attal, new Minister of Public Accounts, during the handover to the Ministry of Economy and Finance, May 21, 2022 in Paris

Gabriel Attal, new Minister of Public Accounts, during the handover to the Ministry of Economy and Finance, May 21, 2022 in Paris (AFP / Eric PIERMONT)

President Emmanuel Macron has set himself the ambitious goal of reducing the public deficit to 3% of GDP by the end of his second five-year term in 2027.

The Head of State is betting particularly on growth and the objective of full employment to achieve his goal, a risky bet given the latest INSEE projections.

The National Institute of Statistics thus expects “modest” GDP growth of 0.25% in the second quarter and the Banque de France an increase of 0.2% (after zero growth in the first quarter).

“The Ministry of Public Accounts is that of the promise kept”, despite the “difficult context”, argued Gabriel Attal, who also insisted on his ambitions in terms of purchasing power and the fight against frauds.

“This ministry is not just about numbers, it’s also about choices. And the first is to protect our fellow citizens,” concluded Gabriel Attal.

© 2022 AFP

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