Economy: the public deficit is falling, Emmanuel Macron urgently consults his ministers and his majority

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Emmanuel Macron held a series of meetings this Wednesday afternoon, March 20, 2024, at the Elysée on the slide in the public deficit that threatens the France’s credibility in the markets and fuels a trial of budgetary “incompetence” initiated by the opposition.

The INSEE will give its verdict on March 26, but the figures are not good and the government knows it: the public deficit in 2023 will be “significant” higher than 4.9% of GDP forecast, warned the Minister of Economy, Bruno Le Maire. The goal of reducing the deficit to 4.4% this year appears out of reach.

A crisis linked to the war in Ukraine?

According to the newspaper The echoesThe government now fears a public deficit that would widen to 5.6% of GDP by 2023. The Figaro cites a source according to which it would reach 5.5% with a margin of error of 0.3 points.

On Wednesday afternoon, the president invited the leaders of the parties and parliamentary groups that make up his majority to a long dinner similar to a crisis meeting.

“We have to face a cyclical economic shock linked in particular to geopolitics. We take responsibility and tell the truth to the French,” she told her hosts, according to one of them, adding that France was escaping the recession, unlike several of her neighbors.

Previously, Emmanuel Macron had received Bruno Le Maire at the end of the day, as well as the ministers responsible for local authorities and Social Affairs, Christophe Béchu and Catherine Vautrin. The opportunity to put back on the table some routes already proposed by the executive, particularly for curb unemployment insurance and health spending.

The government will consult all those interested in public spending, the head of state told his majority leaders, according to a participant.

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10 billion euros of savings?

But Emmanuel Macron seemed to rule out the possibility of presenting a draft amending budgeta risky attitude when it only has a relative majority in the National Assembly and could expose itself to a vote of censure.

A month after announcing savings of 10 billion euros, Bruno Le Maire once again put his foot into the problem on Sunday, proposing to “replace the welfare state with the protective state,” because “everything is free, for everyone, everyone. time” is “unsustainable.”

Initiative that upset the head of state: “You should talk about it with someone who has been Minister of the Economy for seven years,” scoffed Emmanuel Macron, according to Le Canard Chainé. Comments confirmed to AFP by a Palace insider.

Some parliamentarians are calling for raising taxes on the “ultra-rich” or large companies, including the head of the MoDem group, Jean-Paul Mattei. But the government refuses to touch the tax level.


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