If France fails to keep its deficit below the 3% of GDP ceiling for 2017 and 2018, it will not be able to remove itself from the excessive deficit procedure next year.
Effectively the draft of 2018 budget presented by Bercy risks non-compliance with the European budgetary rules.
According to the 1992 Maastricht Treaty and the introduction of Monetary Economic Union, signatory countries must comply with a rule that the general government deficit must not exceed 3% of the GDP.
As promised, the government is still hoping to meet its target of reducing it to 2.9% of GDP from 3.4% in 2017. But this is done with painful adjustments in public expenditure, such as the 5 euro decrease in personal housing allowance and includes the financing of the overruns of French soldiers’ external operations in the army budget.
When he arrived to the financial ministry, Bruno Le Maire had to raise the bar after the Court of Auditors revealed an underestimation of public spending in the budget of the previous government under François Hollande.
This new complication will have an impact on the popularity of the French president, which has been in continuous decline since his election in May 2017.
Julien Moreau, IEJ 3F-G1
“The more I’d screamed, the more he would hit,” says the second alleged victim of Tariq Ramadan testifies
This is the first time she has spoken on television. After Henda Ayari, she is the second French woman to file a rape complaint against the controversial Islamologist. Here is her testimony.
The facts go back to 2009. The victim, who converted to Islam two years earlier, first came into contact with Tariq Ramadan on social networks. The exchanges were “cordial, polite, professional and religious”.
On October 9, the partially disabled young woman met Ramadan for the first time at a hotel in the city where he gave a lecture. The Islamologist convinced her to go up to his room, to talk quietly. “He was behind my back and when I turned around, it was not the same person I had in front of me,” says the victim.
At this time, the violences started.
“It was beatings, sexual violence, despicable words, unspeakable vulgarity. I’d scream for help, I’d yell “no,” and the more I’d scream, the more he would hit.”
The testimony of Henda Ayari, the first woman to publicly accuse the Islamologist of rape, decided to file a complaint. Tariq Ramadan denies the facts and denounces “a conspiracy”. His lawyers, several times solicited, did not wish to react.
Najim Medini, IEJ 3F groupe 1
French far-right leader Marine Le Pen accused banks of closing accounts that belong to her and her party, saying she has been the victim of a “banking fatwa” meant to silence National Front.
The decision made by HSBC comes amid heightened scrutiny of political accounts. Société Générale, France’s second-largest bank, asked National Front to close all its accounts after a 30-year relationship. In France, banks are allowed to close accounts without notice or explanation.
Le Pen said the closures were a political decision designed to “stop the National Front taking part in democratic life and to cause the conditions of its ruin and collapse”. She blames financial oligarchs for “stifling” the opposition. She would be lodging complaints against Société Générale and HSBC.
Société Générale specifies its decisions were based only on banking issues, and a respect of banking rules “without any political consideration”.
This is yet another problem for the French far-right leader who has been put under formal investigation over a European Parliament funding scandal. Earlier this month she was stripped of immunity from prosecution over a series of grisly images she published on Twitter.
Sharon Goncalves, IEJ 3F
Christophe Castaner is on the way. During the first meeting of the presidential party ‘République En Marche’ (LREM) on Saturday in Lyon, he said he would take the lead of the party.
He is expected to accumulate this post with his current functions as Secretary of State and Government Spokesman. This accumulation of multiple mandates has caused reactions within the political class.
Promoted by Emmanuel Macron, Christophe Castaner would be, without competition, elected Director General of LREM on Saturday in Lyon. On Wednesday, he suggested that he would leave his function as Government Spokesman, without excluding staying within the executive team.
The question has caused a wide debate in the opposition. “It is shocking to say the least. That says it a lot on the sectarian functioning of En Marche,” declared the president of the LR party Christian Jacob.
“The Secretary of State cannot be at the same time the interlocutor of the groups of the opposition and a party leader,” tweeted Alain Vidalies, deputy PS from The Landes.
It does not apparently satisfy the French people either, among whom 70%, judge that Castanet has to leave the government under these circumstances, according to a new poll by the institute Elabe for BFMTV.
Alexis Duceau IEJ 3E (Groupe 2)
The French Cultural minister Françoise Nyssen announced, today on Friday November 17th, the creation of an Architectural heritage Lottery. This lottery is intended to the ‘Française des jeux’ (FDJ).
“25% of the French Architectural heritage is today in a poor condition and 5%, approximately 2000 monuments, are judged in a critical state”, she said during a press conference. “The budget dedicated to the restoration will increase by 5% next year, to be carried to 326 million euros,” she added.
The objective is to find new financing for the conservation of French monuments.
Last September, Emmanuel Macron entrusted Stéphane Bern to list voluntarily the French heritage that must be protected. He estimated at more than 10,000 sites out of the 44,000 historical monuments the country counts.
Stéphane Bern also explained that it is necessary “to immediately charge the entrances of cathedrals”.
According to the Ministry of Culture, the special edition of the loto could take place once a year, at the time of European Heritage Days. The strategy in favor of the heritage will be provided in fifteen measures, and could bring an extra 20 million to the state.
Stéphane Bern aims at saving fourteen historical monuments” whose state is considered a matter of urgency. That is one by region and one overseas.
Melrose Brémond, IEJ 3E 2
British bank, HSBC paid a fine of 300 million dollars to France to avoid a trial. This kind of procedure appeared in December of 2016, and had been applied for the first time with the HSBC’s case.
For the tax fraud in France the bank no longer needs to go on trial, but has to pay a huge fine. HSBC agreed to pay it this Monday. Michel Sapin, Minister of Economy during François Hollande’s presidency, voted a law, named “Sapin II” in which, the “Judiciary convention of public interest” allowed it. The companies just have to plead guilty.
The efficiency of the law is discussed by the anti-corruption association Anticor which denounced “a gift to the bribers”. On the other hand, the prosecutor of the national financial parquet of Paris, Eliane Houlette argued that this law would punish the bribers more and would “allow us to obtain quickly what we would never have obtained at the Criminal Court”.
Paying in order to avoid a trial never happened in France. The inefficiency of the justice to condemn tax fraud has lead them to this law. Some can perceive this as a failure of the tax administration.
Benjamin Cuneo, IEJ 3F
Rafael Nadal won in court against Roselyne Bachelot, former French Sports Minister. On Thursday, the Parisian court of Justice convicted her for defamation.
Bachelot was sentenced to a fine of 500 euros and a 10,000 compensation for non-pecuniary harm.
Former Minister made comments in a TV interview last year declaring: ”We more or less know that the famous injury which caused a 7-month break for Rafael Nadal was very certainly due to a positive control [on doping]”.
Nadal very quickly responded by filing a suit against Bachelot. Back then, he said: ”These accusations are really starting to annoy me.” He demanded 100,000 euros in respect of moral damage since the statement of a former Sport Minister can weigh a lot in the field of sport, particularly in harming the relationship between the athlete and his sponsors. His motivation was not only a compensation, but he also wanted to show to a person of influence that they were not allowed to accuse sports players without proof.
The tennis player announced on Facebook that he would donate the money from the fine to a French NGO. He wrote: ”Today is a happy day for me […]. The French justice has resolved the case in favor of my honesty and integrity.”
Game, set and match: Nadal not only wins on tennis courts, he is now also a winner in the Court of Law.
Amel ALMIA, IEJ 3E