The Minister for Public Accounts Thomas Cazenave said on Friday he was “open” to all proposals to find savings, three days after the announcement of the deficit slipping to 5.5% of GDP in 2023. Questioned on Sud Radio as to to the possibility of making savings on public support for personal assistance, Thomas Cazenave assured that he was “open to everything”. “We have before us an important project, that of the recovery of public finances. I’m not going to start saying every time someone puts forward an idea: no, it’s very little for us,” he continued the day after a meeting in Bercy with parliamentarians from the majority and the opposition focused on the recovery of public finances.

On Tuesday, INSEE revealed that France’s deficit had soared to 5.5% of GDP in 2023, compared to 4.9% expected by the government. Asked on Friday about a possible deindexation of retirement pensions in relation to inflation in 2025, the minister procrastinated. “We indexed pensions to inflation. This is a 5.4% increase in retirement pensions,” he explained. “It’s all fresh, it cost 14 billion euros to the state budget (…) and immediately they would like to lead us to what will happen next year,” he was surprised Thomas Cazenave.

“In the four months ahead of us, I suggested that each group president receive it individually. Once we have seen all the group presidents in the National Assembly and the Senate, that all the proposals are on the table, then we will be able to construct the 2025 budget,” he explained. “When we aim to bring the public deficit below 3% (of GDP in 2027, editor’s note), when I enter into discussions with our partners, with our majority, I am not going to start putting red lines everywhere” , he concluded.

Thomas Cazenave nevertheless assured that an increase in VAT was not “on the agenda”, but that it was “not abnormal to review a certain number of measures such as (…) unemployment insurance”. On personal aid, “I am not going to rule out a priori the avenues investigated by the Court of Auditors and which identify 1 billion in potential savings,” he finally said. On Wednesday, the Court of Auditors recommended eliminating VAT at a reduced rate of 10% for certain personal services.