Bruno Le Maire shows his determination to reduce public spending

Bruno Le Maire, Minister of the Economy. LUDOVIC MARIN / AFP

From the 2024 budget, significant spending cuts will take place, promises the Minister of the Economy. A review of the various budget items should be carried out in the coming days.

The figure is impressive: 2956.8 billion euros. “At the end of the third quarter of 2022, the French debt reached 113% of our national wealth“, recognize Bruno the MayorMinister of the Economy, in an interview with Sunday newspaper .

The French public debt has, in fact, exploded in recent years, and more particularly since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. It crossed 100% of GDP for the first time during the pandemic and is inexorably approaching the symbolic milestone of 3 trillion euros.

However, the executive seeks to reassure. “Together with the President and the Prime Minister, we are determined to reduce the debt from 2026 and bring the public deficit below 3% in 2027“, highlights the Minister of the Economy. In 2021, the public deficit reached 6.4% of gross domestic product, far from the European rule of 3%.

“Significant spending cuts”

To achieve this objective, the government is counting on an increase in the creation of wealth but also on a reduction in expenditure. “We will comb through all public spending: State, local authorities, social field. This is the subject of the spending review that we will be undertaking in the coming days under the authority of the Prime Minister“, he pointed. The reduction of tax advantages favorable to fossil fuels is one of the avenues that seem to be considered in particular. “From the 2024 budget, we will be able to program significant spending cuts“, assures the minister.

But these savings will not be made on the back of the energy transition since to succeed in it, “60 to 70 billion additional euros per yearare necessary, figures Bruno Le Maire.

He thus calls on communities and private actors to participate in the financial effort, considering that “the state can bear part of it but not all of it» and that he must play the role of «leverage of private investment“. “This is the whole purpose of the bill that I will introduce in May“explains the Minister. At the beginning of January, during his wishes to economic actors, the tenant of Bercy had indicated that he wanted to make France “the first nation» green industry in Europe, through a future bill accelerating the creation of new industrial sites and encouraging decarbonisation.

Asked about the objectives of reindustrialization and decarbonization, Bruno Le Maire underlines that there have been “massive investments (…) already committed with France 2030, such as the hydrogen plan, the construction of six new nuclear reactors, electric battery factories, particularly in the North“.

Pension reform as a lever

To reduce the weight of the debt, the executive also intends to increase its revenue thanks in particular to pension reform. Precisely, while the bill arrives at the National Assembly and the unions call for new demonstrations everywhere in France on Tuesday, the Minister of the Economy calls on the parties of the majority (Renaissance, Horizon, MoDem) “to uniteto the National Assembly and to support the reform. “When you belong to a majority, you support the proposals that were part of the presidential project“Intimates the minister, who says he hopes that the Republicans will support this reform”until the end“.

Asked about the relevance of reviewing the measures concerning long careers and women, subjects of many disputes, Bruno Le Maire replied that “the Prime Minister has continued to enrich the text. No one can say that Elisabeth Borne did not listen“. Before developing:The real injustice would be to let our system down. This would weaken women, the most modest, those who have had choppy careers.” Those “who are asked to work longer” have to be “better paid“, Still judges the tenant of Bercy who is delighted with this”that in just five months, since the vote on the purchasing power law, 3.6 million French people have received an average of 700 euros in new Macron bonuses.»

The President of the Confederation of SMEs (CPME) François Asselin believes for his part that the “government copy deserves to be fleshed out” about the “measures favorable to the employment of seniors», in a column published by the JDD also.

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