the Court of Auditors is invited to the big debate

Edouard Philippe had no right to speak, this Thursday morning at the Court of Accounts, to respond to the speech of return of the first president, Didier Migaud. But the Prime Minister did not really have to complain: this speech he could have written largely for himself. The main message was the following: in the current political and social crisis, the time is not to put the bell of the reform of the public sphere, but on the contrary to the acceleration of the building sites.

"Law of diminishing returns"

" Current circumstances dictate, not to curb, but to accelerate and concretize the essential process of transformation of public action, for a public service that is even more efficient "Insisted Didier Migaud, recalling that the performance of these services was not up to the means committed (56% of annual wealth), as if" a law of diminishing returns applied. "

A pedagogy of the efficiency of the public expenditure welcome for the head of a government which seeks to direct the big national debate towards the search for savings, not only to arrive at a list of new expenses and requests for decreases of taxes. And the first president of the Court to refer to Seneca to convince the executive to act on this slippery ground - " It is not because something is difficult that we do not dare, it is because we do not dare that it is difficult. Or Paul Valéry: " The greatest freedom arises from the greatest rigor. It should be emphasized that the control of public finances is a question of sovereignty, whereas Italy has recently had to revise its budget sharply under the pressure of the markets.

Fight against false information

Didier Migaud did not fail to recall that the public debt of France « tangent now the symbolic bar of 100% ", A gap of 40 points of GDP and separating it from the German debt. And the deficit forecast for 2019, revised upwards to 3.2% of GDP after the emergency measures for purchasing power, could be more degraded in the future, the macroeconomic scenario of the executive being " weakened ". Nevertheless, one satisfies: the 2018 spending targets have apparently been respected.

After this session, the Court of Auditors intends to contribute in its own way to the big debate, by publishing next month its annual report, with the key of new ways of saving. Financial magistrates recognize the difficulty of the exercise at a time when more than ever, public speech, whether from representatives of universal suffrage or independent experts, is in doubt. "

Even if the tyranny of fake news is not quite new, Didier Migaud this time referring to the words of his distant predecessor François Barbé-Marbois, expressed in 1807: " It is always necessary to say the truth in matters of finance, and especially in difficulties, because suspicion goes beyond truth and exaggerates reality, and the Treasury, like individuals, suffers from it. "

Etienne Lefebvre