The Minister of Economy and Finance, Bruno Le Maire, at the Elysée, September 25, 2023. MEHDI FEDOUACH / AFP
It is a text that usually goes relatively unnoticed by non-budget specialists. However, this year, the public finance programming law (LPFP) should, barring any surprises, force the government to resort for the first time since the pension reform to article 49.3 of the Constitution. The latter, which allows a text to be adopted without a vote, is seen as a forceful passage in a National Assembly deprived of an absolute majority for a year. A new use of this tool will nevertheless be necessary, Wednesday September 27 in the evening, if the oppositions refuse to vote on the text, we insist at Bercy, while, among the latter, the Republicans and the National Rally left the question hanging. suspense in recent days. The LPFP sets the country’s budgetary trajectory until 2027, detailing the steps to reduce the debt burden and return below 3% of the public deficit (to 2.7% of GDP) at the end of the five-year term.
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“This text is fundamental for the budgetary credibility of the French nation”, launched Bruno Le Maire, Monday September 25. A sign of the government’s determination, the Minister of the Economy had shaken up his agenda to open the debates in the Finance Committee of the Assembly, ordering the deputies to “overcoming political divisions”. The parliamentary box was tailor-made: it is within the framework of an extraordinary session that the LPFP should be examined in the Hemicycle on Wednesday, a few hours after the presentation to the Council of Ministers of the 2024 budget. Objective: allow the government to use 49.3 without consuming its only cartridge authorized during the ordinary session, devoted to non-budgetary texts.
Why such voluntarism on the part of the executive? First, because this review is not a first. In December 2022, in a Hemicycle heated to death by the fall budgetary debates, he failed to have an LPFP adopted as is customary at the start of the five-year term. “However, it is an obligation that Parliament has given itself (…) and a necessity for good management, it gives a direction to public officials”, recalled Pierre Moscovici, the president of the Court of Auditors, Monday. At the time, finding a compromise with Les Républicains proved impossible. Since then, Bercy has accelerated the pace of deficit reduction by 2027, and adjusted its text to take into account the demands of local authorities and the right, by reducing the constraints weighing on the former.
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