Bercy announces that savings will increase to 20 billion euros in 2025

The usually expert and hushed debates of the Finance Committee of the National Assembly increasingly resemble the muscular and tumultuous exchanges which take place in the hemicycle. On Wednesday March 6, for two hours, the Minister of the Economy, Bruno Le Maire, and the Minister Delegate for the Budget, Thomas Cazenave, faced a chorus of reproaches from the finance commissioners of the National Assembly, before facing those of the Senate, for almost three hours.

The two ministers from Bercy came to present their savings program of 10 billion euros in the 2024 budget, which, for lack of having been the subject of an amending finance bill, took the form of a decree canceling appropriations, allowing the executive to avoid difficult public scrutiny in an Assembly where it no longer has an absolute majority. Announced on February 18, less than two months after the adoption of the 2024 budget, these savings were justified by lower-than-expected growth forecasts – 1% instead of the 1.4% voted in the budget in fall 2023. But the use of regulations rather than the law for savings of such magnitude is extremely rare, the practice being rather to proceed by decree for budgetary corrections of a few hundred million euros during the year.

“Insincere”, “denial of democracy”, “austerity”, “increasingly authoritarian conduct” “budget built on sand”… Furious at having been deprived of a debate in session, the oppositions did not hold back their blows against the two Bercy ministers. Accusing them of having delayed adjusting the figures for the 2024 budget, despite warnings from several international organizations about the slowdown. Participating in their arbitrations in budget cuts. Criticizing them for still being too optimistic for the year 2024. For endangering growth with an austerity policy that is too strict, while the economy is slowing down. To cut too much, or not enough, in public spending, and not in the right places. Not to increase taxes, not to reduce tax loopholes.

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“Budgets that were not sincere”

“Many of us MPs warned you that this figure (growth of 1.4% in 2024) could not be achieved »immediately attacked Eric Coquerel, the president (La France insoumise, LFI) of the finance committee of the National Assembly, regretting not having been informed of the measures that “by a fold at 12:28 a.m.” the day before the council of ministers on February 21. Same tone on the right: “You presented budgets that were not sincere and you knew it”added National Rally (RN) MP Jean-Philippe Tanguy. “I wonder if you acted like apprentice sorcerers or ostriches?” »quipped Les Républicains (LR) MP Véronique Louwagie.

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