The debt is exploding, public companies are deteriorating, Macron is wanting elsewhere | EUROtoday

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Two of the three most influential ranking companies on monetary markets, Fitch Ratings and Moody's, up to date their evaluation of the solvency of French public debt on April 26. This evaluation of France's monetary ranking takes place each six months. More worry than hurt: France escaped a sanction and the 2 companies saved their rankings, in addition to their outlook, unchanged. Standard & Poor's (S&P), thought-about probably the most influential company of all, will ship its verdict on Friday May 31. Before this deadline, “ Point ” offers you a series in five episodes to understand everything about the financial situation in France.

LFrance is the champion of public spending. With 57.3% of GDP devoted to financing public policies, France is well above the European average, at 49.4% of GDP in 2023. Nine points more! And this is valid in almost all areas.

Spending on health, retirement, unemployment, education, culture, defense… In these different functions, France spends more, as a percentage of GDP, than Germany, Spain, Italy or the Netherlands, according to the data published on Fipeco. France thus devotes 5.2% of its GDP to education, compared to 4.7% on average in the European Union, and 4.5% in Germany.

However, this allocation of resources does not seem to be followed by an improvement in public services. In a three hundred page report published in September 2023, the Our Public Services collective, bringing together state agents, hospitals and communities, reports the “feeling of collapse of public services, on the part of citizens but also public officials.” According to an Ifop survey carried out in 2022, 61% of French people believe that public services are functioning poorly.

“Catastrophic” emergency situation

Shortages of general practitioners in certain territories lead to “increased pressure on hospital establishments” point out the authors of this report. The Samu-Urgence union warned, in September, of the “catastrophic” situation of emergency services: “Health security is sometimes no longer ensured, including for vital emergencies. »

Due to a lack of sufficient salaries and attractive working conditions, public hospitals and schools face significant recruitment difficulties. A survey by the French Hospital Federation (FHF) conducted in spring 2022 estimates that 99% of public hospitals and nursing homes lack caregivers.

Justice is also struggling. The presidents of the judicial courts have calculated that a 35% increase in staff numbers would be necessary to meet urgent needs alone! In certain universities, the Court of Auditors regularly points out the situation of librarians and administrative agents who still do not work 35 hours. With, inevitably, an impact on the quality of the service provided.

“Some indicators show a deterioration in State investment and, therefore, in the public service provided,” cautiously recognizes Lisa Thomas-Darbois, director of studies at the Montaigne Institute, who nevertheless tempers: “It is more a question of a feeling, there is no study that really supports it. » How can we explain this situation despite the substantial budget allocated to them?


“For structural and economic reasons, there is a trend increase in the cost of public services. For example, the increase in health spending goes hand in hand with the increase in life expectancy, environmental spending increases to face the challenges that arise…” explains Lisa Thomas-Darbois. Economist Marc Touati, for his part, is more categorical: “It’s pure and simple waste. »

READ ALSO Debt: Macron, the president who keeps signing checks “It is not a problem of resources but of allocation of resources,” assures the president of the Acdefi cabinet (At the helm of the economy and finance). “There is a sort of inefficiency in public spending which has increased with Covid and the policy of whatever it takes,” believes the economist.

“We gave money to everyone without looking, so it ended up creating zombie companies which should have gone bankrupt and were kept alive artificially,” explains Marc Touati. In fact, 57,700 bankruptcy procedures were opened in 2023, or 35.8% more than in 2022. “This will result in a shortfall in tax revenue,” he anticipates.

Beyond the particular case of whatever it costs, “we’ve misplaced the notion of public expenditure, a public fund is taken into account by the citizen, companies or households as being owed”, estimates Lisa Thomas-Darbois, of the Montaigne Institute. “Today, we are talking about reviewing expenditures, we are abandoning the idea of ​​tackling the administrative millefeuille, so we are only taking a few strokes,” deplores the expert. Politically, implementing a large-scale reform is risky, she admits however: “The 20 billion euros in savings are just to reassure the markets. »

3,101.2 billion
This is the quantity of French public debt on the finish of 2023