The Senate Committee on Culture, Education and Communication reserved its vote on Tuesday October 17 on the appropriations for the “sports, youth and community life” mission. Reason: before making a decision, it hopes to have more precise information on the overall cost of the Olympic and Paralympic Games for public finances and on the schedule of the Olympic projects.
On this last point, “risks weigh on the delivery schedule of the Olympic works”noted Éric Jeansannetas (Socialist Party), special rapporteur on these “sports, youth and community life” credits.
While remembering that in 2022 “the budgetary documents indicated that “most of the equipment will have been received for 2023, the most important of which are the Arena Porte de La Chapelle, the renovated Stade de France, the Yves-du-Manoir stadium [à Colombes] and the Marseille marina” he stressed that delivery “all of these facilities, with the exception of the Yves-du-Manoir stadium, have been postponed until 2024 “.
In the eyes of the senator “this is not reassuring”because the delivery of the works assumes that there is “sufficient time for provision” of this equipment to the Games Organizing Committee (Cojop), “at the risk that this would otherwise result in additional costs for the latter”.
The Grand Palace, the “greatest concern”
In a report on the Games, submitted to Parliament in July, the Court of Auditors highlighted that delays existed for the construction sites of the athletes’ village, the media village, the Arena at Porte de la Chapelle, and made the the subject of optimization of schedules and measures to extend schedules and increase staff numbers to absorb them.
“If they were to persist, the reception dates for these works could be postponed by a few weeks, thereby limiting the period for lifting reservations before they are made available to Cojop and the latter carries out temporary arrangements”, had warned the Court of Auditors. However, she did not have “no major operational risk identified” for the delivery of these works: “all works should be ready for the start of the event”.
There “greatest concern”according to Jeansannetas, concerns the work on the Grand Palais in Paris, which will host fencing and taekwondo competitions: “They are experiencing significant delays. The administration, however, assures that all the works should be delivered before the start of the games..
In its report in July, the Court of Auditors explained that “the trajectory of the Grand Palais construction site is currently considered critical”. She emphasized that, on a budgetary level, there was “a risk of exceeding the envelope, estimated at nearly 9 million euros” and that acceptance of the work, initially scheduled for the end of February 2024, had been postponed to the end of March-beginning of April 2024.
“Regrettable uncertainties” on security and transport costs
The other “blockage” subject, in the immediate future, for the Senate Culture Committee, concerns the absence of an overall estimate of the cost of the Games, beyond the budgets of Solidéo (the company responsible for construction sites) and Cojop, and the uncertainties over a certain number of expenditures concerning public finances.
Mr. Jeansannetas listed them: “The total cost of Games security is not known,” while“it is likely that the State will have to mobilize internal security forces, the operational reserves of the police and the gendarmerie, as well as the military. The overall costs relating to transport are also not known. A complete review of the impact on the state budget of the tax exemptions granted to the Games has also not yet been established.
“These uncertainties are regrettable, as we enter the final stretch of preparation for the Games”considers Mr. Jeansannetas, who says he hopes “that they will be lifted quickly”, particularly in light of the hearings that are to be conducted by senators in November. In the meantime, the Culture Committee has followed it in its recommendation to reserve the vote on credits for the “sports, youth and community life” mission.