Eric Ciotti: “Given the level of our debt, we are dancing on a volcano! »


The government estimates that it has already identified 10 billion euros in potential savings over the five-year term. Did these announcements convince you? I am absolutely not convinced. We have…

Eric Ciotti: “Given the level of our debt, we are dancing on a volcano!  »

Eric Ciotti: “Given the level of our debt, we are dancing on a volcano! »

The government estimates that it has already identified 10 billion euros in potential savings over the five-year term. Did these announcements convince you?

I am absolutely not convinced. We have already experienced announcement effects in the past that have never led to concrete measures, and this still seems likely to be the case. The debt problem threatens to strangle our country, but it is not taken seriously by Emmanuel Macron. The figures speak for themselves: our public finances have entered the red zone, and we could be the only country in the euro zone in 2024 to have a deficit above 3%. I recently met members of the European Commission who shared their concerns with me. Given the level of our debt and the increase in interest rates, we are dancing on a volcano!

Would you go so far as to table a motion of censure on the budget or the public finance programming law planned for the start of the school year?

I don’t work by threat. Our proposals are responsible and reasonable. The government needs to include them. We notice that when we made proposals, they were not taken up by Bruno Le Maire. Many of the avenues for savings announced so far are not really informed. Whether it is for the public finance programming law, for which the ambitions are very modest, or the finance bill for 2024, we demand substantial efforts.

Part of the savings measures recommended by the government are aimed at healthcare expenditure…

It is absolutely not on the health aspect that we must focus efforts in view of the major crisis that our healthcare system is currently going through. I note that the recently decided reduction in reimburt for dental care also goes against Emmanuel Macron’s promises and will have serious consequences for low-income people. We must focus on our social spending, which has gone from 12% of total spending in the 1960s to 34% today, when the sovereign has seen its share melt from 6% to 3%.

What social spending do you want to review?

It is possible to go much further in reducing unemployment benefits, which are an obvious obstacle to a return to full employment. The government has taken a step in the right direction, but it must be continued. It is also necessary to make savings on the RSA, by imposing strong counterparties. In general, the large volumes of public expenditure are located in this social share, and that is the reason why I supported the pension reform. Public spending must be restructured, to regain room for maneuver and restore our public services, the weakening of which is the ferment of a serious social crisis.

Do you believe, like the RN, that the fight against immigration is the main lever for reducing social spending?

Every day, the Ile-de-France prefecture rents 50,000 hotel rooms for emergency accommodation, most of which is reserved for the reception of asylum seekers or migrants. We must also bear in mind that emergency medical aid, beyond the sole AME (State medical aid), costs 2 billion euros. These expenses related to immigration are therefore part of the points that cannot be overlooked. This is the reason why I propose that non-contributory social benefits should not be paid before five years of residence in the territory. But to believe, like Madame Le Pen, that we will solve the problem of public spending only thanks to this lever is not in accordance with the truth.

The government criticizes you for never making concrete proposals for savings…

These attacks do not make sense. Beyond all that I have just told you, we need a revolution of debureaucratization. We must attack all these State agencies which are beyond the control of elected officials and which install inviolable citadels within the State. We can cite certain decentralized state administrations such as the DREALs [directions régionales de l’environnement, de l’aménagement et du logement, NDLR]. I also advocate a new phase of decentralization, targeting in particular the health system and education. We see today that the private health sector is doing much better than the public sector, nothing should be forbidden. This also applies to the number of civil servants whose reduction must be started again. Finally, the fight against tax and social fraud must have much stronger ambitions than what the government has announced.

Should local authorities participate in the effort? LR voted against the mechanism that the government wanted to impose on them…

Local authorities are more virtuous than the State when it comes to balancing their finances. There is nevertheless a subject around their workforce. This is particularly the case for intercommunalities, which have led to serious abuses. Nice, for example, has become the most indebted metropolis in France due to gigantic structural expenses that have no place.

A majority meeting took place on Wednesday to discuss a possible alliance with LR. Do you exclude, on your side, any rapprochement?

I would call this meeting totally grotesque. It is perhaps flattering that the relative majority of Emmanuel Macron positions itself according to the Republicans, but we are and will remain masters of our destiny. We do not need to determine us cenacles of a party without ideological or territorial basis.

You had asked to be received by Emmanuel Macron to present your proposals on immigration to him. Did he answer you?

The Head of State did not deign to formulate answers to the mail that we sent to him with Olivier Marleix and Bruno Retailleau. The reality is that he has closed the doors of dialogue and discussion with us on this essential question for the French. I tell Emmanuel Macron that our proposals can change the course of history.

Will the party be in working order for the next European elections in 2024, crucial for the future of the right?

I often take the image of a beautiful historic house of character, in stone with solid foundations, whose roof would have flown away and the interior completely devastated. I believe that we have taken important steps which should lead us to the Elysée in 2027.

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