Reforms, authority: the political offensive of Bruno Le Maire

Published on Nov 22, 2023 at 7:16 p.m.Updated Nov. 22, 2023 at 7:20 p.m.

This week is the Congress of Mayors and with it, the traditional season of receptions and butt pinches organized for local elected officials by a few ministers. More or less imposing meetings. And there is one which, on Tuesday evening, was noticed and immortalized by many photos on social networks: in Bercy, the Minister of Economy and Finance was receiving. While this Wednesday evening at the Elysée, 1,000 mayors were invited around Emmanuel Macron, the day before, Bruno Le Maire was surrounded by a thousand city councilors and a hundred parliamentarians, according to supporters.

And facing the mayors, hay from France to the “near euro” and alert on the necessary reduction in public spending . No, Bruno Le Maire, who was elected for a long time in Eure, wanted to talk to them about authority, respect for the rules and zero tolerance when they are flouted. No doubt a speech eagerly awaited by many of them, worried about the attacks of which they are the target and still marked by this summer’s riots during which they were on the front line.

“Moment of truth of the five-year term”

The message is clear from someone who is annoyed at being sometimes portrayed, particularly by potential political competitors, as a loner: there are few in government who can make a show of force like this. To be able to also go very far out of their field. In short, to launch into a political offensive, at a time when the head of state is particularly monopolized by the international and tends, moving from one subject to another, to disorient his troops.

Not an interview with Bruno Le Maire in recent days without him emphasizing the special nature of the moment: “A turning point in the five-year term,” he said ten days ago on France Inter. “The moment of truth of the five-year term”, he added this weekend in “La Tribune Dimanche”, insisting that the reforms are “indispensable”. Challenging the “ambient gloom”, while emphasizing France’s “solid results” when others, like Germany, are entering recession, he urges us to go further.

Bruno Le Maire ured this weekend that he would make “decisions because they are good for France”. But the verdict from the S&P rating agency on France expected on 1er December undoubtedly puts a little more pressure.

Criticism of the unemployment insurance agreement

Not an interview without Bruno Le Maire targeting the priorities on which he believes we need to push the focus and “decide now”. “In the next three years, the next three decades of France risk being at stake,” he warned. On the menu of these priorities, full employment, and with it the question of the social model, training, housing, reindustrialization, innovation, simplification…

On unemployment insurance, he constantly says that we must go further. This sounds like a criticism of the agreement reached by employers and unions . Agreement in which anyone who would not take a dim view of the State piloting Unédic in view of the sums committed, privately deplores certain expenses but uncertain savings.

Also, Emmanuel Macron’s outburst on Tuesday at the Elysée on full employment and reforms, in front of an audience of business leaders, rang sweet in the ears of Bruno Le Maire. A positive signal as he fears the brakes, the resistance, the risk of soft consensus, “management”, rather than “transformation”. In short, anything that could prevent results from being obtained in the years to come.

And if throughout the interview, he also brushes aside any questions about a targeted position and even more so about the next presidential election, which is too far away, it is difficult to imagine that with this offensive, he is not obviously thinking about 2027.

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