Uncovering France’s Missing Post-Covid Billions: Recovery Insights

Of the 40.3 billion euros planned for France in the recovery plan voted by the European Union two years ago, at the end of the Covid-19 crisis, France only received currently just under 13 billion. How to explain it? Europe 1 takes stock.

It was two years ago, in July 2020: to cope with the economic shock of the Covid-19 pandemic, the European Union had adopted the most ambitious recovery plan in its history, thanks to an agreement unprecedented by the 27 Member States, which had agreed to pool their debt. At stake, just over 800 billion euros in subsidies to be distributed between the Member States, including 70 billion euros for Spain and Italy, the two main beneficiaries. And 40.3 billion arrowed towards France.

The public finance programming law blocks France

Problem, at this stage, France has only received a little less than 13 billion euros, or a third of the total promised. The rest of the sum has still not arrived, while the European Commission’s schedule provided for a second payment of 11 billion euros last year, then a third, up to 7 billion euros this year. If the funds are blocked, it is simply because the government has still not succeeded in having the public finance programming law (LPFP) adopted by Parliament for the period 2023-2027.

Despite the favorable vote of the Senate, the National Assembly had, last fall, rejected this text which details the budgetary trajectory of the country until the end of the five-year term. And in particular the executive’s plan to bring the public deficit (4.7% currently) below the 3% mark by 2027. “We were not able to benefit from a second part of the endowment because we have not succeeded in having a public finance programming law passed. However, this is an essential condition for obtaining the allocations for the recovery plan”, regrets the Renaissance deputy for Indre-et-Loire, Daniel Labaronne.

Towards a new 49-3?

France’s inability to adopt a LPFP within the required timeframe violates European treaties. This is why payments intended for our country are withheld by Brussels. For the executive, there is urgency: the public finance programming bill must again be submitted to the Assembly during an extraordinary session at the end of September. The opportunity to try to convince some of the opposition deputies, hopes Daniel Labaronne, who recalls how crucial the issue is.

“If we don’t have a LPFP, we will lose nearly 30 billion euros. I hope we will find a majority in the National Assembly. And I’m hopeful that we can pass this law before the end of the year. And maybe it will be necessary to use the 49-3. I am in favor of it, “he says.

Yet another 49-3 which would expose the government to a motion of censure. Last March, during the examination of the pension law, that of the Liot group had failed by nine votes. The LPFP is the first act of a high-risk return to school. After this text, parliamentarians will have to consider the 2024 budget and the Social Security finance bill. Two texts that the Minister of the Economy, Bruno Le Maire, will present on September 25.

This article is originally published on europe1.fr

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