November 10, 2019
Hello Herve Gattegno. This morning, you want to come back to one of the week's events – perhaps more political than we have said: the privatization of the Francaise des Jeux. Let's ask the question directly: In your opinion, is this a good decision?
I think so. First, because, apart from any ideology, the state is not necessarily the best placed to manage a society whose purpose is to organize lotteries and games of chance – in any case, it is not not essential that it is the State, unlike the police or the school; it's not strategic or fundamental. It is also a useful decision to encourage the French to invest in the economy; it's a virtuous cycle, the more investors invest, the more it boosts the economy; and the more dynamic the economy, the more it inspires confidence. I would add that we still need another billion euros (that's what the government hopes to gain from the operation). So yes, it's a good decision – and it does not come at random.
It will be so much money that we will not ask taxpayers
Yet in France, privatizations are still controversial – as we have seen with the case of Aeroports de Paris, whose privatization is blocked by a request for a referendum. What makes you say that this time, it will necessarily be positive?
I repeat, we do not sell anything strategic. And unlike the privatizations of 1986 (under the Chirac-Balladur government), there are no "hard cores" of big shareholders to pick up most of the stake. It is the small carriers who are advantaged in the operation, with preferential rates. And then it must be added that in the FDJ, the most lucrative for the state coffers, it is not the dividends it receives as a shareholder; it is the taxes on profits and especially the 3 billion and a half euros a year that the gaming tax brings – and this tax, the private company will continue to pay. So the big winner of the case is the state. But we must never forget that the state is us. It will be so much money that we will not ask the taxpayers.
Emmanuel Macron shoots his darts, which disarms his majority
You will agree, however, that privatizing public enterprises is the mark of a right-wing policy. This is a criticism that can be made to Emmanuel Macron by his majority, which comes from the left?
Surely, but a while ago we realized that Emmanuel Macron is a centrist in the sense that Francois Mitterrand meant: he is neither leftist nor leftist. Moreover, it is to a minister of right (Bruno Le Maire) that he entrusted the economy (and also the budget, besides, with Gerald Darmanin). And he has just proposed a former minister Jacques Chirac for the European Commission (Thierry Breton). While privatization is a right-wing policy, it is obvious – only the right has forgotten it; The Republicans oppose the privatization of ADP while Francois Fillon, their candidate in 2017, had a program of massive privatizations. The reality is that Emmanuel Macron is shooting hard and fast, which is disabling his majority. And that the leaders of the right are scratching their heads to oppose a policy that is very similar to theirs. At the FDJ, it's called scratch and draw. And that makes more losers than winners.