Editorial - July 2023


Temps de lecture : min

Common peace

Beyond the magic of the figures - France’s public debt as defined by Maastricht has breached the €3,000bn threshold, while at the very same time Apple’s market capitalisation has attained this same level - the country’s debt trajectory raises questions. France risks being the only member of the eurozone to exceed the 3% threshold in terms of the public deficit-to-GDP ratio in the coming years, thus becoming the sick nation of Europe.

This reality is likely to complicate the task of those in charge of public affairs. At the same time, needs and ambitions have not been tempered. At a time when the search for energy, food, digital and diplomatic sovereignty requires the massive mobilisation of financial resources, the challenges for education, health and security are just as high.

« And for all these aspects, sobriety will not suffice! »


Is France living beyond its means? It is, in any case, unable to meet its needs alone. Moreover, its public debt is held more by non-residents (51.4%) than by nationals, unlike countries such as Italy and Japan. This situation reflects our “external position”, which has also exceeded the symbolic €800 billion threshold, resulting from the negative balance between France’s foreign assets and foreign assets in France. While a comparison does not prove anything, it is preferable to look at public debt in light of the creation of assets on the country’s balance sheet. And this raises the question of the “quality of the debt”, which we have considered over the past several years in the context of our Economic and Financial Outlook for the “quality of jobs created” or the “quality of growth”. Debt must be a relevant and effective instrument in the search for future prosperity, which will benefit the tangible and intangible wealth of present and future generations, creating common peace.

Written by

Francis JAISSON 
Deputy Director-General in charge of all Management, Marketing, Negotiation and Research

July 12, 2023

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