François Villeroy de Galhau: Governance of public expenditure and public services: is there any hope left?

Speech by Mr François Villeroy de Galhau, Governor of the Bank of France, at the Académie des sciences morales et politique conference, Paris, 19 June 2023.

Central bank speech  | 
22 June 2023

Dear Chairman,

Dear Permanent Secretary,

Dear Academicians,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is an honour for me to speak before you today and I wish to warmly thank your Chairman and my esteemed predecessor, Jean-Claude Trichet. This year, your collective discussion focuses on the theme of "Good governance". Six years ago, at the invitation of Michel Pébereau, I had the opportunity to use the theme of "Reform" to reflect upon international financial regulations. Today, I will tackle a different aspect: good governance in the public sphere. I would like to thank a number of people who are committed to this cause and who have been kind enough to be here today. As the head of a public institution and a fervent supporter of the public service – and also as a citizen – I consider this to be an essential matter. France appears to be drifting towards a "strange defeat", or, at the very least, a gloomy resignation, reflected in constantly increasing government expenditure and public debt (I), together with diminishing intellectual investment in economic optimisation and public management strategies. (II) There is also a growing feeling that essential public services are continuing to deteriorate. In the face of this public crisis, is there any hope left? I will close my presentation with a practitioner's conviction: yes, transformation and management of public services are indeed possible! (III)