Before the budget debates, the "Bercy dialogues" prepare the ground

Gabriel Attal, Minister Delegate for Public Accounts, during the Medef University Days, in Paris, August 30, 2022.

An unprecedented situation, an unprecedented method. The finance bill (PLF) 2023, which the government should present on Monday, September 26 in the Council of Ministers, is no longer a secret for the deputies of the majority and the opposition. After three afternoons of discussions – "about ten hours" according to the Minister Delegate for Public Accounts, Gabriel Attal, who led the meetings –, the thirty members of the offices of the finance committees of the National Assembly and the Senate, and the representatives of the various groups who sit there will have had a broad overview of what the first budget of Emmanuel Macron’s second term will contain. A key text, which will be debated from October 10 in a Chamber where the presidential party has lost an absolute majority.

Eager to show that power is no longer concentrated in Bercy, Mr. Attal had taken care of the decor, receiving the deputies in different places at each meeting – a first time on the seventh floor of Bercy, a second at the Assembly, a third in the Senate. “All the groups came and stayed”, he welcomed, Tuesday evening, at the end of the third meeting. Including La France insoumise (LFI) and the National Rally (RN), invited even if the two parties are not part of the"republican bow" in the eyes of the macronists.

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“They even had access to tax articles”argued the Minister, nevertheless refusing to specify what would ultimately be retained in the proposals of the oppositions, which must still be the subject of a technical and political examination. “The text that will be sent to Parliament will not be the one we had planned to send before the Bercy dialogues”, assured Mr. Attal. While saying "lucid" faced with the gap between exchanges "constructive" meetings and “symbolic political positioning” displayed by the oppositions, who affirmed very early on that they would not vote for the budget.

“A certain excitement”

"We felt a government open to discussion, which also seems to mean that it is not completely serene when it comes to tackling this budget", considers the deputy of Seine-Saint-Denis Eric Coquerel, president (LFI) of the finance committee of the Assembly. But “The justice of the peace will be on the 26th, and there is a strong probability that, on the main lines, the text will not move”. Socialist Party deputy Christine Pirès Beaune even mentions “a certain excitement” by M. Attal. “They have very little room for maneuver if growth falters”she notes.

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