The 2023 state budget finally adopted after ten appeals to Article 49.3


Parliament definitively adopted the 2023 state budget this Saturday, after the rejection of a final motion of censure from the left in the Assembly, the end of an autumn punctuated by ten recourse to the constitutional weapon of 49.3. In a sparse hemicycle, the Nupes coalition crushed a “bad budget which responds neither to the social emergency nor to the ecological emergency”, and above all a cycle “which will have damaged democracy” by the repeated use of the 49.3. “We ask you to leave”, asked David Guiraud (LFI) to Elisabeth Borne. But their motion received only 101 votes, far from an absolute majority (288 votes).

In two months, the government will have triggered Article 49 paragraph 3 of the Constitution ten times, in order to pass the State and Social Security budgets without a vote. Such a pace had not happened since the fall of 1989, when Prime Minister Michel Rocard was deprived of an absolute majority at the Palais Bourbon, like Elisabeth Borne since the June legislative elections.

12 motions of censure

In total, 12 motions of censure were defended this fall, i.e. more than “under Michel Rocard, Edith Cresson and Pierre Bérégovoy combined”, noted the Prime Minister, wondering about the reasons for “such relentlessness in wanting to do bring down the government”, especially on the part of the rebellious. “It is undoubtedly to hide a certain embarrassment” because “this text responds to the aspirations of the French, the needs of the most precarious, the expectations of communities and companies, support for our public services”, estimated Elisabeth Borne.

In a stormy atmosphere, she also tackled LFI’s “lessons of democracy”, at a time when several executives of the left-wing movement are sharply contesting the composition of the new leadership. Neither the right nor the extreme right supported this final motion of the year. “The motions are decoys, a parody”, launched Lionel Tivoli (RN), when Véronique Louwagie (LR) argued that “the interest of the country remains our only compass”. But the LR group will seize the Constitutional Council, judging the finance bill “insincere” and the right of amendment “not respected”. The Nupes will do the same.

Véronique Louwagie expressed the wish that the government “give up” 49.3 in 2023 and tend “systematically towards compromise”. “The elections are still close. It was the first time that we examined the budget, with this configuration in our National Assembly. Our method is being built. It is moving forward,” replied the Prime Minister.

“Cold of the economy”

Among the flagship measures of the budget: a tariff shield to contain the rise in energy prices to 15%, salary increases for teachers and priority for sovereign ministries. But in the midst of high prices, the debate focused on calls from the left and the RN to tax the “superprofits” of large companies such as the oil company Total or the shipowner CMA CGM.

Nupes and the extreme right demanded a broad tax. The executive opposed them to an agreement sealed at European level with two mechanisms: “a temporary solidarity contribution” from producers and distributors of gas, coal and oil which would bring in some 200 million to France, and a cap on the income of producers of electricity, likely to bring in an additional 11 billion.

The tension crystallized on amendments voted by the Assembly, but set aside by the government in the version of the budget submitted to 49.3. This is the case of a measure proposed within the majority, by the MoDem, to increase the taxation of “super dividends” of shareholders of large companies, and which had received broad support from the opposition. The government favors work in progress on the “sharing of value” within the company, to promote profit-sharing or the “employee dividend”.

The executive, on the other hand, integrated at the last minute an amendment establishing a financial participation of employees when they use their personal training account (CPF), causing a stir even in the majority. Opposition MPs dispute the government’s growth forecast of 1% of GDP, deemed too optimistic, pointing out thatEmmanuel Macron himself spoke of growth rather around “0.5 or 0.7% in 2023”. Because the clouds are gathering, with soaring energy and food prices since the war in Ukraine, consumption at half mast and industrial production in decline.

INSEE described last Thursday the “passing cold” of the French economy marked by a contraction in GDP in the last quarter of 2022 to rebound slightly in 2023. The recession would be avoided, but an inflation peak is expected at 7% on one year in January and February. Either a flammable comeback, while the government intends to unveil the main lines of its controversial pension reform on January 10.


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