Budget: the difficult negotiations of the presidential majority with LR

Posted 2 Dec. 2022 at 10:30

For the seventh time in a month and a half, Elisabeth Borne therefore had to brandish 49.3 on Wednesday to pass one of the budgetary texts of her government – ​​in this case the finance bill for Social Security. But will she succeed in escaping this outcome once?

Presented so far as the only text likely to bring about a compromise with some of the opposition, the public finance programming law (LPFP) is the subject of difficult negotiations with the parliamentary right. And this at a time when some of the elected LRs of the Assembly want at all costs to avoid conceding a symbolic victory to the executive. “The government has completely let go of the floodgates on public spending and does not want to constrain itself with our demands, it will not succeed”, stings a heavyweight from LR in the Assembly. “It is still too early to confirm any renunciation of an agreement”, replies a government source.

Action for communities

The thread is not yet broken. For the past few days, the general rapporteur for the Budget at the National Assembly, Jean-René Cazeneuve (Renaissance), has multiplied the exchanges with his counterpart in the Senate, Jean-François Husson (LR). The presidential camp is pushing to bring the discussions around this LPFP to a conclusion during a joint committee between deputies and senators, next week a priori.

A first gesture had already been made last week, when Elisabeth Borne announced to the Congress of Mayors that her government was abandoning the system which was to force large communities to limit their spending under penalty of sanctions. The parliamentary right – particularly in the Senate – had made it a red line for a possible agreement. The executive has therefore agreed to give local authorities a non-binding trajectory of lower spending over the five-year period (-0.4% below inflation), and to demand the same effort from the State – even if there are still points to be clarified on the exact scope of the expenditure concerned.

Savings claimed

But that does not extinguish the demands of the parliamentary right. “We want the government to make a greater effort to reduce public spending over the five-year period compared to what is planned, and there is room. We must stop leaving the country on artificial respirators, ”explains Jean-François Husson.

In the budget trajectory it voted for, the senatorial right is calling for 37 billion in additional savings over the five-year term, to bring the deficit back below the 3% mark by 2025. “For the moment, the majority is not ready to make an effort only of the order of 6 to 7 billion, but it cannot be less than 10 to 20 billion in our eyes”, continues the senator. What complicate the negotiations, while Bercy wants to avoid an austerity cure that would affect growth. “We must be calm and demanding, and gradually restore order in our accounts”, warns Jean-François Husson.

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