LE FIGARO. – You return from China. What is the perception of our partners in France?
Pierre Moscovici. – I have noticed with my Chinese counterparts very close attention to our economic situation and, more generally, that of the euro area. During my interview with Mr. Li Keqiang, the future prime minister, I was the first Union Minister of Finance to meet, I heard a message of confidence, but also the expectation of concrete results of our actions. I invited them to fully appreciate the advantages of France and invest in our economy.
The government held a seminar on Thursday investments. How to stimulate while state coffers are empty?
The priority of the Head of State is the inversion of the curve of unemployment by the end of the year. Boost investment is at the heart of our strategy to achieve this. We have established a very favorable to private investment, stabilizing the euro area and by launching our pact for competitiveness. Housing, renovation thermal transport infrastructure and deployment of very high speed have been identified as our top priorities. It is now to direct savings to the French abundant future investments. As stated by the Prime Minister, public resources will be redeployed towards these goals. The roadmap is drawn and the seminar enabled the mobilization of the government in this direction.
The opposition accuses you of being vague on reducing public spending. What do you say?
We are committed to reducing public spending 56.3% of the national wealth in 2012 to 53.1% of GDP in 2017. The French expect that the public participates in the national effort to rehabilitate the country. This is voluntary, and there is no question of bias. The objective is clear, 60 billion by the end of the quinquennium. In this context, it is already in the budget, numerous examples, and each minister is in charge of preparing the necessary reforms.
The State is exemplary. Thus, in 2013, operating expenses will decline by 5%, including reducing communication expenses, reorganizing its major networks (sub-prefectures network abroad), controlling its payroll. A review of major investments is in progress. We will train and, by example, all stakeholders, including operators of the State, local authorities and social security administrations in the modernization of public action.
Our method is based on consultation and facing the user, is different from that of our forefathers. I estimate more efficient and fair. Cut with an ax, as did the previous government through RGPP creates blockages and resistances that are missing the mark.
The new contribution substitute tax at 75% for income in excess of a million Will it temporary or permanent? The government has sent mixed messages in recent days about it
In exceptional circumstances, exceptional effort: this is the philosophy. The new contribution will take the spirit of the tax to 75%, while respecting the principles laid down by the Constitutional Council. We will present in the next few weeks, so that economic actors are set. I would add that the reasons for the tax exile are not due to such a device. Taxation is not everything: at the time of the tax shield at 50% right, yet there were 700 departures per year. And then to find the attractiveness French, we also restore our tax base, renegotiating our conventions. We're working on.
Expect the discussion in Spring with Brussels on the issue of growth and public finances to admit that France will not its commitment to reduce its deficit to 3% of GDP this year?
If I now believe that growth will not reach 0.8% as we expect, I would have said. Uncertainties are high, of course, but I note that some changes – the agreement on the U.S. budget, the prospects for growth in China, the solutions to the euro zone – are positive. Our actions to restore France's competitiveness and defend domestic consumption also support growth. Even though the beginning of the year is difficult, there is no question of giving any signal that today might suggest that our desire to reduce our deficit to 3% weakening. That said, it is also necessary that the Europeans are questioning how to get more growth, as the IMF and OECD invite us.
Were you a candidate for the presidency of the Eurogroup?
I've never been a candidate. My name was mentioned by some – which is an honor – but the task was entrusted to me is to be Minister of Economy and Finance of France, in a period of crisis, and this task is heavy. Incidentally, I read here and there that I could leave the government to take over the presidency of the Eurogroup, which is absolutely false. In my mind, the president of the institution must be a minister in office. What matters to me is that the ideas and designs of France on the future of the euro area are heard by the future president, particularly with regard to the banking union, it must continue the integrity of the euro area, which must be preserved, and growth policies, it is essential to carry. I told Jeroen Dijsselbloem.
You have caused confusion by stating that to overcome its difficulties, the automaker PSA should "go further". What do you mean by that?
Do not distort my words! PSA, which has sold more than 3 million cars in 2012, is in a difficult situation. To cope, the group has launched a strategic partnership with GM. He drives a socially painful, we worked to contain, and graduated from the State guarantee on its banking subsidiary. In this context, PSA has given assurances of its production in France, particularly in the Rennes plant and appointed Louis Gallois, the Commissioner of the investment to its supervisory board. To recover, PSA undoubtedly deepen its strategic thinking, but it's a private company and, as such, it is up to her to make choices as it deems advisable. I believe there is a place for PSA on the world market. With regard to the guarantee provided by the State for its banking subsidiary, I am quite confident about the progress of the discussions we have with Brussels.
CEO of EDF, Henri Proglio, subject to an investigation by the Financial Inspection on how contracts were obtained in China. Him hold your confidence?
It is not an investigation or questioning existing partnerships with China, which I saw during my visit to Beijing that they were of vital importance in the eyes of our stakeholders government. It is a mission control. As a state shareholder, our duty is to ensure that our strategic choices are preserved in the negotiations. This procedure is not more Mr. Proglio. The government's intention is not to jeopardize the future of a partnership with China that has lasted thirty years, or find a pretext to change the governance of the company. We just want to better understand the operation of the nuclear industry. This mission – we should have the results within three months – will help.
"Moscovici encourages China to invest in France
"Growth, deficit: why the government persists