The 2013-2015 Activity Report of the High Council of Public Finance

17/12/2015

Two and a half years after its implementation and at the time of the first renewal of its members, the High Council of Public Finance publishes its first activity report for the years 2013 to 2015.

Two and a half years after its implementation, the High Council of Public Finance, the French independent fiscal institution attached to the Cour des comptes, already plays a major role in our new fiscal governance.

The High Council is entrusted with a double task by the Constitutional Bylaw of December 17th 2012 : assessing the realism of macroeconomic forecasts associated with financial texts and checking the

consistency of the public finance trajectory (State, Social Security and local administrations) with the multiyear structural balance targets and France’s European commitments.

Contrary to several of its counterparts, the High Council neither produces nor intervenes in the macroeconomic and public finance forecasting process, which lies entirely with the government. It delivers advisory opinions based on available information - either public or transmitted by the Ministry of Finance - and on experts’ hearings.

Although it is still too early for an overall assessment of the High Council’s first years of existence, the setting up of an independent fiscal institution in France may have reduced the optimistic biases which used to affect both macroeconomic and public finance forecasts presented by the government.

At the time of the first renewal of some of its members, the High Council is still facing several issues. It was set up under difficult economic circumstances. The current position of French public finance grants the High Council a particular responsibility in monitoring compliance with European commitments. The concepts it has to deal with and deliver opinions on - i.e. potential growth and
structural budget balance - are fragile and particularly difficult to use in crises. Finally, the time granted to the High Council to prepare its opinion - seven days on average - is peculiarly short.

Despite these difficulties, the eleven members and the small staff of the High Council do their best to deliver opinions that are as explicit and intelligible as possible and which definitely contribute to sound fiscal governance.

Like the Cour des comptes to which it has been attached and in accordance with it, I wish the High
Council were able to inform Parliament and contribute to the debate on public finance.

Same is the purpose of this first activity report for the years 2013 to 2015.

 

Didier MIGAUD
First President of the Cour des comptes
President of the High Council of Public Finance

 

date de dernière mise à jour : 17/12/2015