La Commission européenne a publié hier (10 avril 2013) un rapport sur 13 économies de l’UE, dont la France. Elle dresse un état des lieux sévère (mais juste) de la compétitivité française:
FRANCE is experiencing macroeconomic imbalances, which require monitoring and decisive policy action. In particular, the deterioration in the trade balance and competitiveness evels, driven both by cost and non-cost factors, against a background of a deteriorating external position and high public debt deserves continued attention. The need for action so as to reduce the risk of adverse effects on the functioning of the French economy and of the Economic and Monetary Union, is particularly important notably given the size of the French economy.
More specifically, the growing trade deficit reflects the long term decline in export market shares which is linked to persistent losses in both cost and non-price competitiveness. Wages have risen fast and put pressure on prices and firms’ profitability. The low and decreasing profitability of private companies, in particular in the manufacturing sector, have not only weighed on their indebtedness, but more importantly may have hampered their ability to innovate and to strengthen their non-price competitiveness. Other factors, including the decreasing number of exporting firms have aggravated these competitiveness issues. In particular, rigidities in the French labour market, which also contributed to the development in the cost of labour, may have limited the potential for adjustment of the economy and hampered productivity developments. In addition to the competitiveness issues, the rising public debt exposes France to potential financial market turbulence and brings risks of crowding out private investment.