The Covid-19 crisis, like the war in Ukraine, has made European countries aware of the need to be less dependent on international markets. A turning point after years of relocations, which led to France deindustrialising, widening its trade deficit and losing valuable skills. Industry, which accounted for 23% of the wealth produced in France in the early 1980s, now weighs just 13.4% of GDP, compared to 17% in Italy and 22% in Germany, according to France Industrie. The governments of Édouard Philippe and then Jean Castex made an effort to make the country more attractive, in particular through the voice of Agnès Pannier-Runacher, deputy minister of industry who skilfully covers the field. Among the flagship announcements to rectify the situation: the measures of the recovery plan or the “France 2030” project.
Despite the initiatives that are already in place and that are yet to come, there is still a long way to go, even if the candidates tackle the subject directly. Each spoke in particular about production taxes and corporate taxes. Under Macron’s five-year term, the corporate tax rate will have been cut from 33.3% to 25%, while manufacturing taxes have melted by €10 billion, all largely in favor of industry. What else do the contenders for the Élysée offer? For Yannick Jadot – whose policies are focused on ecological transition – it’s not about maintaining or abolishing taxes, it’s about “making bonus-malus on public policy instruments“Environmentalist wants production tax to be lowered.”discriminatory“, so as not to give preference to large groups, which often emit more CO2 than smaller ones.
In France, industry, which in the early 1980s accounted for 23% of the wealth produced in France, now weighs only 13.4% of GDP.
Valérie Pécresse’s liberal program aims to cut production taxes of 10 billion euros, less than what Medef hopes (35 billion). But the discount could be more significant if the savings on public accounts that the president of the Île-de-France region is asking for are there. In any case, the cut will be more pronounced than that proposed by Emmanuel Macron, which reaches 7 billion euros and will result in the abolition of the part of the contribution to the value added of companies (CVAE). On the far right, Éric Zemmour, like Marine Le Pen, is campaigning for a cut in production taxes, up to 30 billion for the reconquest candidate! and targeting VSEs-SMEs for the leader of the RN. As for Anne Hidalgo, she doesn’t get wet. The mayor of Paris does not want to touch corporate tax, both up and down.
Competitiveness, a challenge for everyone
If the candidates attack the pay gap between managers and employees here and there or are moved by the under-taxation of the largest groups, the contenders for the Elysée are far from focusing on the economic world as a whole. While finance has been François Hollande’s enemy during his presidential campaign, political party leaders are making a softened speech in the face of the economy today. Suffice it to watch their big oral before the Medef in February to realize that they recognize the importance of a strong fabric of companies and do not seek frontal opposition.
On the side of Yannick Jadot and Anne Hidalgo, we count on competitiveness and relocations that are stimulated by ecological transition and innovation. The Greens candidate believes that “the switch is made with the companies or it will not go through“. To do this, it plans to invest 25 billion euros every year in the infrastructure necessary for the transformation of lifestyles, production and consumption. The mayor of Paris wants to support companies in reducing emissions and create a reindustrialization and local employment fund endowed with 3 billion euros that will invest in companies in difficulty.It also wants to make a booklet on industrial development through ecology to direct savings from the French to this type of project.
De Medef was careful not to comment on this or that candidate
Valérie Pécresse also wants to send savings to strategic investment funds. It also plans to develop national champions in the industries of the future such as fall vehicles, artificial intelligence, aerospace industry. Candidate LR plans to put an additional billion euros on the table for basic research and strategic innovations and to strengthen the defense industry through public procurement. The enarque also offers a small business act to prioritize products made in France.
A measure that resonates with the programs of far-right personalities who advocate economic patriotism. Marine Le Pen vows to review free trade agreements that do not respect France’s interests. †Fair trade must replace free trade“, she specifies. It is not Éric Zemmour who will contradict her on this point, he who believes that we are helping “at the end of happy globalization“and that we should stop signing these kinds of agreements. The Reconquest candidate! also plans to extend the control of foreign investment to all sectors. The administrative simplification that we have heard less about lately, but which is nevertheless one of the demands of the French who say they are overwhelmed by the rules and cannot orient themselves in the maze of French and European norms, is also on the agenda of the right-wingers.Entrepreneurs don’t want help, says Éric Zemmour. They want less taxes, less standards.“Valérie Pécresse is also fully present in this direction, whoever wishes to do so”de-bureaucratize“, by lowering the standards and eliminating 500 unnecessary or duplicate government agencies.
In late November, an OpinionWay poll for legalstart.fr showed that 43% of business leaders intended to vote for Emmanuel Macron. But the dice are far from being thrown as the candidates’ programs were not yet known at that time. Will voters give a bonus to the incumbent and to the one who won the “does not matter what“to support the economy during the crisis or will they prefer a change of method and ambitions? had not prevented the vice president of the institution, Patrick Martin, from specifying: “We all see the same thing, and you won’t tell me who I’m thinking of, that in the eyes of business leaders, certain programs are more powerful, effective, and relevant than others.“It remains to be seen what will emerge from the analysis of their vote at the end of the elections in April.