L’action économique des personnes publiques - Étude annuelle 2015

Conseil d'état

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What can public persons do in economic matters?

It is to this simple, albeit vast and controversial issue that the Council of State is devoting its 2015 annual study. It responds to it from the position it occupies, i.e. without taking sides on the public authorities’ choices of opportunity or prescribing economic policy, but by analysing their room for manoeuvre, from a legal and institutional point of view.

The thesis of this study is that there is a great deal of leeway.

The economic action of public entities remains fully relevant despite the monetary and budgetary transfers made at European level, the globalisation of economies and the dilution of economic issues in the various public policies. This action is based on solid legal foundations, both constitutional, legislative and regulatory, but also, more than one might think, conventional, with European Union law in particular offering many possibilities.

This action benefits from respecting certain methodological precepts, which are prerequisites for effectiveness: using a limited number of actors; taking into account the particular complexity and temporality of economic issues; choosing the most relevant tools to achieve the objectives pursued. The present study contains 52 proposals for public persons to use or regain the capacities for action that are theirs. One of them is being implemented within the framework of this study: the development of a "Guide to economic action tools", which is already available to the public authorities and which will be enriched and updated over time and will be available on the Conseil d’État website.