Macron promises better growth and wants to continue reforms


The President of the Republic Emmanuel Macron in Paris, May 21, 2024 (POOL/AFP/Yoan VALAT)

Emmanuel Macron predicted a clear improvement in French growth in the second half of 2024 and defended his supply-side policy, saying he wanted to maintain the course of reforms in order to restore public finances, in an interview published Wednesday by L’Express.

“In terms of growth, we should have a much better second half of 2024. Inflation, moreover, has landed very quickly, much faster than in the past. (…) And this, without entering in recession”, declared the President of the Republic.

After 2.5% in 2022, gross domestic product (GDP) growth slowed sharply last year, to 0.9%, in a context of inflation and high rates. It reached 0.2% in the first quarter of 2024.

Due to lower-than-expected revenue, the public deficit widened to 5.5% of GDP in 2023, compared to 4.9% expected. For 2024, it is expected to reach 5.1%, more than the initial target of 4.4%.

“Apart from a drift in initially planned expenditure which is due to local authorities, there is no slippage in State expenditure, its budget is even rather under-consumed”, defended Emmanuel Macron.

He reiterated his ambition to bring the public deficit below the threshold of 3% of GDP in 2027, within European standards, banking on growth and control of spending to restore public finances.

For 2024, 10 billion euros of savings in state spending have already been made and the government is seeking 10 billion additional cuts to make.

“Was it necessary to change policy? The answer is no. Constancy, coherence, confidence: we are staying the course, because our strategy is the right one,” said the French president, defending his economic reforms in terms of work and reindustrialization, and its political strategy characterized in particular by tax cuts.

“Our public finances are more degraded than before Covid, like all our neighbors, but we will keep the same policy with the objective, in the years to come, of being able to resume the reduction of the deficit, returning below 3% as planned at European level by 2027 and start reducing the debt”, he continued.

Despite degraded public finances, Emmanuel Macron repeated his commitment to reduce middle-class taxes by 2 billion euros in 2025.

© 2024 AFP

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