Elisabeth Borne tries to reassure mayors about their finances

It’s on an ultimate ” declaration of love “ – the word is from Matignon – that the congress of mayors of France, opened on Monday, November 21 in Paris, ended on Thursday. After the President of the Republic, the day before, the Prime Minister, Elisabeth Borne, asked the mayors, “the beating heart of our Republic”, “to move forward [avec elle] together “.

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However, everyone knows that only proofs of love matter. And the mayors are not fooled. In his closing speech, the President of the Association of Mayors of France (AMF), David Lisnard, praised “a climate of dialogue and mutual respect”but he added that this “new relationship” would be judged “to deeds”.

The mayor Les Républicains de Cannes also took the opportunity to send a spade to the President of the Republic. Emmanuel Macron preferred to visit the mayors’ “living room” on Wednesday, which brings together companies and organizations, rather than the “congress”, the political event which was held a stone’s throw from the first: “When you want to meet the mayors of Francelaunched Mr. Lisnard, and communicate on this meeting, well we go to the congress and to the AMF exhibition. It is the recognition of the legitimacy of our action, of our representativeness. »

Size concession

Be that as it may, Elisabeth Borne had not come empty-handed. Hard hit by the energy crisis, subject to financial constraints of all kinds, the city councilors are having a hard time with the fact that the government wants to once again involve them in the recovery of the country’s public finances. Those who are required to present balanced accounts do not support the lessons of a State which, for its part, has not been able to hold its own for fifty years.

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During the first five-year term, the “Cahors contracts” were submitted to them. Objective: to keep spending tight. But this device did not survive the health crisis. In 2022, a second mechanism was therefore proposed. Called “Pact of confidence”, it was quickly renamed “Cahors 2” by elected officials.

The executive explained in vain that it would not be a question of reducing the expenses of the communities, but of slowing down their progression, that the responsibility would be diluted between them, nothing helped. The mayors do not want it. They have thus continued to fight against the “Cahors 2”, rejected by Parliament and reintroduced with a hussar by the government in the finance bill (PLF) for 2023.

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With success. Elisabeth Borne announced Thursday that the mechanism would not be, contrary to what is written in the PLF, accompanied by financial penalties in the event of slippage. A major concession that says a lot about Emmanuel Macron’s desire to spare the mayors. Faced with a relative majority in the National Assembly, the President of the Republic cannot allow himself to multiply fronts and must find allies to apply his policy.

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