The Meaning of Public Service dissects the legality of the Rally’s program…

In a new note published on 1is July 2024, the think tank “Sense of Public Service” reviews the main proposals of the National Rally for civil servants and public services. Considering that the proposals of the far-right party do not guarantee the “values” and social utility of public services, it denounces measures contrary to the law, to the functioning of public services, to the principle of equality and financially unrealistic revenue cuts.

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The Sense of Public Service considers that several RN proposals are contrary to several legal texts on public services and their equality of access. Ekaterina Bolovtsova

All citizens demand to strengthen public service, but it will be impossible if we break its values”, denounces the think tank Le Sens du service public in a note published Monday 1is July.

Faced with the record rise of the National Rally in the first round of early legislative elections on June 30, the civil servants’ collective recalls that public services “are inseparable from the principles of solidarity and universality throughout the territory.” And analyzes the main measures of the far-right party concerning public service.

A national preference contrary to the principle of equality

First, the ban on access to certain jobs for dual nationals, a measure criticized by several groups and associations, is contrary to the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen, this proclaiming in particular that citizens are “equally admissible to all public dignities, places and employments, according to their capacity, and without any other distinction than that of their virtues and their talents”. The think tank, which defends the opening of the civil service to non-European foreigners (read on AEF info), recalls that there are 3.5 million dual nationals, several thousand of whom are civil servants (read on AEF info).

In the same vein, making access to non-contributory social benefits conditional on five years of work in France would be “contrary to constitutional requirements”. The preamble to the Constitution provides that “the Nation ensures the individual and the family the conditions necessary for their development”, without mentioning any condition of nationality or work.

Lto restrict access to family allowances for French people, and thus effectively remove those of foreign workers in a regular situation, would be “not in accordance with the principle of equality”.Any person who contributes is entitled to the benefit of allowances which are the counterpart of his contributions,” the note adds. The think tank also considers that removing the State compensation of 287 million euros per year to La Banque Postale would prevent the poorest people from accessing banking services. This measure would also call into question the law which establishes La Poste as a “public group which fulfills public service and general interest missions”.

And measures contrary to the functioning of public services

One of the other flagship measures of the far-right party would be to privatize public broadcasting, which it considers a cost for the State and, above all, as no longer meeting “the criteria of neutrality”. The think tank once again invokes the constitution which “guarantees pluralistic expressions of opinions and equitable participation of parties and political groups to the democratic life of the Nation”. This measure would also contradict the Léotard law which devotes its “public service missions” to “the general interest”, according to senior officials.

From a practical point of view, the National Rally’s proposal to “reduce the weight of administrative services in hospitals” by introducing a “10% ceiling on administrative positions” would be “contrary to the realities of how public hospitals operate”. The think tank notes that administrative staff already represent 10% of staff in 2019 (105,000 people out of a million) and that reducing this number would lead to “a real transfer of the burden of administrative tasks to staff medical”.

Finally, the think tank estimates the amount of revenue losses caused by certain measures in the RN programme at 40 billion euros, such as the reduction in 5.5% VAT on energy (estimated by Bercy at – 16.8 billion), exemption from energy tax for those under 30 income (- 3.8 billion euros) or the elimination of the business property tax (- 9 billion euros). In a context of deficit, such a program would mean “automatically fewer public services in territories and fewer and fewer civil servants in the sovereign ministries such as education, health, justice…”

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