The High Council of Public Finance issues an opinion on the orientation and programming bill for the Ministry of Justice (PLPJ), after being referred by the Government to examine the provisions of the PLPJ having an impact on public finances. This opinion assesses the compatibility of these provisions with the expenditure targets set out in the draft public finance programming bill for 2023-2027.
The Government referred to the High Council of Public Finance the provisions of the orientation and programming bill for the Ministry of Justice (PLPJ), for the period 2023-2027, having an impact on public finances. The organic law provides that the High Council shall assess the compatibility of these provisions with the expenditure targets set out in the current public finance programming law (LPFP) or, failing that, in the introductory article of the last budget law.
In the absence of a programming law, and since the introductory article of the 2023 budget law only covers the year 2023, the High Council is able to formulate an opinion as provided for by the organic law only for the year 2023. A programming law is essential to enable the High Council to fully exercise its mandate.
As the High Council recalled in its opinion on the draft military programming bill, this difficulty illustrates once again the absolute necessity of having a programming law setting a multi-year trajectory for public finances, in accordance with France's organic provisions and European commitments. The High Council therefore calls for the rapid adoption of a credible and ambitious LPFP to provide a multi-year anchor for public finance management.
Nevertheless, in accordance with the Government's request, the High Council examined, for the information of the Parliament and the citizen, the compatibility of the PLPJ with the trajectory proposed by the draft public finance programming bill (PLPFP) tabled in Parliament on 26 September 2022.
The High Council notes that the budgetary appropriations for the Justice mission in the PLPJ are in line with those voted in the budget law for 2023 and are identical to those in the PLPFP for the years 2024 and 2025. According to the Government, this would also be the case for 2026 and 2027, which the High Council cannot check, as the PLPFP only presents the budgetary appropriations for the first three years of the programme. The recruitment difficulties in the civil service pose a risk to the execution of the projected employment pattern and to the under-execution of the wage bill trajectory. Conversely, the risk that inflation will continue to surprise on the upside could require additional appropriations, in particular for the important real estate investments forecast in the PLPJ.
Finally, the High Council notes that the PLPJ, together with the draft military programming bill and the programming laws already enacted, would constrain the other State expenditure from 2024 onwards. This would imply a significant and, to date, poorly documented effort to control expenditure, as mentioned by the High Council in its opinions on the PLPFP and on the draft military programming bill.