French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire assured on Saturday that France would continue to "pass structuring reforms" in a statement to AFP, the day after the lowering of France's financial rating. by the agency Fitch.
"I believe that the facts invalidate Fitch's assessment. We are able to pass structural reforms for the country,” he said, citing the unemployment insurance reform and the pension reform. "And we will continue to push through structural reforms for the country," he said.
Fitch lowered the French rating on Friday evening, citing the strong social tensions at work around the pension reform. "Political stalemate and social movements (sometimes violent) pose a risk to Macron's reform program," the rating agency said in a statement, announcing the downgrade of the French rating by one notch, to " AA–" versus "AA" previously.
"We have before us a whole series of reforms that will accelerate the transformation of the French economic model," Bruno Le Maire argued on Saturday. He mentioned on this subject the "green industries bill which will be presented in a few days and which will make it possible to reindustrialize France, to open new industrial sites and to create new jobs".
"Do not doubt our total determination to restore the nation's public finances [...] to accelerate the deleveraging of the country, to reduce deficits and to accelerate the reduction of public expenditure", declared the French minister from Stockholm where he participates at a meeting of EU finance ministers.
Six weeks ago, the French government definitively adopted its pension reform project providing for a postponement of the legal age from 62 to 64, thanks to the support of article 49.3 of the Constitution which allows to pass a text without a vote in Parliament. This decision led to a clear hardening of the protest at the social level, and several days of violent demonstrations throughout the territory, reminiscent of the episode of the Yellow Vests from 2018.
"This decision has sparked protests and strikes across the country and is likely to strengthen radical and anti-establishment forces," said Fitch, who had attached a negative outlook to his previous rating, meaning the risk of a lowering. The current situation could also "create pressure for a more expansionary fiscal policy or a reversal of previous reforms", fears the agency.
Expected for an update of its rating last Friday, the agency Moody's did not finally announce a new rating, while the agency S