Les Gracques, this think tank made up of social-liberal economic decision-makers, sent a note to the Elysée and Matignon detailing their proposals to accelerate the resumption of activity. They mention in particular the decongestion of the courts, the reduction of payment periods or the negotiation on security at the level of the company.

“When it comes to security, the state should not be the arbiter who decides. It must support companies and employees and only intervene in the absence of agreements between the social partners, ”considers Philippe Crouzet, former chairman of the Vallourec management board.

The first phase of the coronavirus crisis, that of organizing aid to the economy, to avoid the collapse of production and the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs, is over. The second begins, that of the resumption of activity. Les Gracques, this think tank made up of economic decision-makers with a social-liberal tendency, sent a note last weekend to the Elysée and Matignon which tries to define the conditions for a return to normal functioning of the economy. “These are microeconomic proposals, not necessarily costly, intended to rebuild the confidence of businesses and households”, explains Bernard Spitz, their president.

Employee health safety

First concern, the safety of employees, without which no recovery is possible. “When it comes to security, the state should not be the arbiter who decides. It must support companies and employees and intervene only in the absence of agreements between the social partners ”, considers Philippe Crouzet, former chairman of the Vallourec management board. “Rules that fall from above and are imposed uniformly and everywhere, that cannot work. It is preferable that the State stick to the publication of a health protocol through general principles, leaving social negotiation to be done at the level of the company. », Continues Pierre Cunéo, vice-president at Thalès.

Construction, an important sector that has suffered a severe slowdown, is the subject of much attention. With two emergencies. First, “All the works which require administrative authorizations are behind schedule. The municipal services must therefore restart the process for building permits ”, insists Fabrice Aubert, general secretary of Nexity. Then, the Gracchi campaigned for public order to quickly take over after the two-month hibernation. Many SMEs depend on it.

The congestion of justice

Another subject, the future congestion of the courts with the expected increase in bankruptcies and commercial disputes. “After the bar strike against pension reform and confinement, the stock of untreated cases represents nearly six months of activity”, underlines Stéphanie Fougou, general secretary of Ingénico. The Gracques therefore propose to simplify and accelerate certain procedures.

“For judicial liquidations, a normal procedure takes four months. In some cases, for very small businesses, when it is obvious that the asset is non-existent, the judge should be allowed to make a decision in a few days ”, considers the one who is also honorary president of the French Association of corporate lawyers. To unclog the courts, Stéphanie Fougou also proposes to temporarily give legal professionals such as lawyers, notaries and bailiffs the power to give enforceability to mediation agreements signed in the context of disputes between professionals and individuals.

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Reducing delays in the payment of invoices between companies is also vital. A dozen large companies have already committed to accelerate the payment of their subcontractors. The Gracques advise to encourage this virtuous practice, for example by giving access to principals who commit to loans guaranteed by the State at more than 90%. Finally, if we want to prevent credit insurers from reducing their coverage, we will have to support them. “It is no less legitimate for the State to help a credit insurer whose proper functioning is essential for relations between all companies, than to help just one, was it Renault”, argues Philippe Crouzet.

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