Government sets out economic reforms to boost growth

The economic growth and activity bill

Presented at the Council of Ministers on 10 December 2014 and due to be debated in Parliament at the beginning of 2015.

The context

The economic situation demands reforms. Global growth is still struggling to pick up again. Europe, as Emmanuel Macron explained at a press conference on 15 October, is “in a state of anaemia”, as shown by not only the growth but also the inflation figures.

Budgetary efforts are being made, but the engines of growth are still lacking. This is accompanied by a need for investment, both public and private. We need to overhaul the country for its own sake, modernize it and improve potential growth.

France has three “illnesses” today: firstly a lack of confidence, with French people ever less confident in their economic future; secondly, complexity, with the burden of laws and regulations having become intolerable for the economy and small businesses; and finally sectoral vested interests, which impede our ability to change. So we must show trust and let the people on the ground, who are closest to the reality, make the choices that affect them. We must also simplify drastically: complexity and opacity always protect the wealthiest and best integrated, but their first victims are the most vulnerable and the people outside the system. Finally, we must regain a sense of what is in the general interest.

The bill aims to use every lever to help revitalize growth, investment and employment.

What is the goal?

The economic growth and activity bill aims to free up economic activity throughout France and in every sector. Manuel Valls and Emmanuel Macron, Minister of the Economy, Industry and the Digital Sector, presented it at the Council of Ministers’ meeting and then at a press conference from the Elysée Palace on 10 December 2014. An outline of the plan had already been presented in a statement on 15 October.

The purpose is to do everything for competitiveness and employment, so as to remove obstacles. Everyone must agree to change what does not work well and what penalizes economic activity and therefore employment. I know the bill shakes things up, but it serves one interest alone: the general interest.

- Creating and developing economic activity. It will take nothing away from anyone. On the contrary, it opens up and simplifies many sectors (regulated legal professions, retail trade, coach links) and many procedures (major planning projects, collective procedures, industrial tribunals, employee shareholding). It should stimulate financing of the real economy with investment: sale of government shares to invest in the government’s priorities, simplification and refocusing of employee savings plans, profit-sharing schemes.

- Making concrete, swift improvements in French people’s lives. As soon as possible after the vote on the bill, the Economy Minister will issue the orders for which it makes provision and which are ready, as well as its implementing decrees, which have already begun to be prepared. Before next summer, tariffs for regulated professions are set to decrease. There will be greater transparency as regards motorway tolls and concessions, the duration of industrial tribunals judicial proceedings will be shortened, new coach routes will serve the whole country and businesses and households will benefit from a very large number of simplification measures etc.

- Those outside the system. For the young and most vulnerable, the act is going to increase and safeguard access to a number of rights in rem, especially that of being able to move around the whole country, that of exercising the profession for which one is trained and being able to move to wherever necessary; and, by increasing the commercial offer and the transparency of tariffs for regulated professions, that of having access to cheaper goods and services.

Published on 11/12/2014

top of the page