France aims to make all paperwork online by 2022

Reuters News
Posted: Feb 01, 2018 9:12 AM

PARIS (Reuters) - The French will be able to fill out 100 percent of official forms online by 2022 while the use of merit-based pay for civil servants will be increased, the government said on Thursday in a first review of public spending.

The review is the first attempt to spell out how President Emmanuel Macron aims to cut public spending by 60 billion euros over the term of his mandate as promised, in a country which has one of the highest public spending ratios in the world.

"There is no doubt we may hurt some sensitivities, some situations we got used to," Prime Minister Edouard Philippe told a news conference. "But you can't fix a country, you can't aim high, without being aware that you must shake and change some of these situations sometimes."

The philosophy behind the government's plan was to digitalize most technical and repetitive tasks in the different layers of bureaucracy, Philippe said.

The government would also train employees to act as advisors rather than form fillers and all companies will be able to bid online for government tenders from Oct. 31 this year.

Budget minister Gerald Darmanin said a voluntary redundancy plan for government employees could be envisaged while Philippe said more workers would be put on private contracts, reducing the number of career civil servants.

But he provided few details on where the ax would fall.

Legislation spelling out the plans will be ready by the start of next year, after consultation with civil service unions, Philippe said.

The government was warned last month by the independent audit watchdog that it was still a long way from redressing the situation in its public finances and should not wait for the end of its mandate to spell out spending cuts.

Macron said during his campaign he aimed to cut the number of government employees by 120,000 over five years, including 50,000 for the central government.

(Reporting by Jean-Baptiste Vey and Michel Rose; Editing by Leigh Thomas and Catherine Evans)