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In France, the deficit is slipping and oppositions accuse Macron’s “poor” management

Photo: Christophe Ena Agence France-Presse French Minister of Economy and Finance, Bruno Le Maire, and President Emmanuel Macron

Gabriel Bourovitch – Agence France-Presse in Paris

5:30 p.m.

  • Europe

President Emmanuel Macron was under fire on Wednesday, with the opposition, all parties combined, accusing him of “incompetence” and “poor” management in view of the spiraling public deficit.

The National Institute of Statistics (INSEE) will deliver its verdict on March 26, but the figures will not be good and the government knows it.

The 2023 public deficit will be “significantly” higher than the 4.9% of GDP forecast, warned the Minister of the Economy and Finance, Bruno Le Maire. The target of a deficit reduced to 4.4% this year appears out of reach.

Proof of the sensitivity of the subject, this drift in accounts has found its way into the agenda of the Head of State.

He is due to receive Bruno Le Maire at 5:30 p.m. local time as well as the ministers responsible for local authorities and social affairs, Christophe Béchu and Catherine Vautrin.

The opportunity to re-examine avenues already put forward by the executive, in particular to curb expenditure on unemployment insurance and health.

A month after announcing 10 billion euros in cuts in the 2024 budget which had just been voted on, Bruno Le Maire put his feet in the problem again on Sunday.

He proposed “replacing the welfare state with the protective state”, because “free everything, for everyone, all the time” is, according to him, “untenable”.

An initiative that annoyed the head of state: “He should talk about it to the one who has been Minister of the Economy for seven years,” mocked Emmanuel Macron, according to the weekly < i>The Chained Duck. Comments confirmed to Agence France-Presse by someone familiar with the presidency, where we say despite everything “always open to good ideas”.

The president also invited to dinner on Wednesday the leaders of the parties and parliamentary groups that make up his majority, to try to agree on the violins while dissonances are being heard.

“Tax gifts” since 2017

Some deputies are, in fact, calling for increasing taxes on the “ultra-rich” or large businesses, including Jean-Paul Mattei, the head of the MoDem group (center, ally of the Macron camp).

But there is no question of touching the tax lever, Prime Minister Gabriel Attal recalled on Wednesday.

“We prefer to increase the pressure on evaders rather than increase taxes on the French,” declared the head of government while presenting the “historic results” of the tax authorities, which recovered more than 15 billion euros in tax fraud last year.

But for the oppositions, the account is not there.

“We have never had such appalling figures,” said the president of the deputies of the National Rally (extreme right), Marine Le Pen, on France Inter radio, criticizing the “pitiful results” and “the incompetence of this government in the financial field.”

Same accusations from the left of the deputy for La France insoumise Adrien Quatennens: “These people are poor economists”, he castigated on CNews television and on Europe 1 radio.

“Rather than saying that France is addicted to public spending”, the rebellious MP pointed to “the rich addicted to tax gifts which have been made on a massive scale” since the election of Emmanuel Macron in 2017, he added.

The proposed tightening of the screw on social spending does not even satisfy the right. “It’s too late, because we’re going to go about it in the worst possible way, by making somewhat indiscriminate cuts,” lamented the president of the Les Républicains (LR, right) group in the Senate, Bruno Retailleau, on the Public Senate channel.

In the daily Les Échos, the president of the LR party, Éric Ciotti, estimated that the country “is taking the same path as Greece”.

Will the executive, which planned to present an amending budget “in the summer”, that is to say after the European elections on June 9, have to review its timetable ?

At the very least, we will have to give guarantees before the ax of the rating agencies: Fitch and Moody's on April 26, and especially S&P on May 31, a week before the election.< /p>

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116