Currently the “price of electricity only goes up in Europe”, warns Geoffroy de Bézieux, the boss of Medef, this Thursday morning on BFMTV. And the consequences are already visible. Because they are no longer profitable because of their energy bills, some companies, such as the food industry William Saurin, have closed four of their eight factories.
Others might be tempted to relocate their production to the United States or to Asia, where the cost of electricity is five to six times lower. In some productions, electricity represents almost 35% of the cost price of a product. This is valid for large companies, but also SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) or for craftsmen such as bakers who have just been heard with aid announced by Bruno Le Maire.
To support his analysis, the boss of bosses believes that Europe must quickly intervene in the price of electricity. Indeed, with the increase in electricity, some companies are forced to pass on these costs in prices and lose markets to Asian competition.
« L’Europe first »
“You have to understand that the price of electricity is local, unlike the price of a barrel of oil, which is global”, with companies that are on the same equal footing. However, the United States, with its massive aid plan to decarbonize, also helps companies with subsidies. For the boss of bosses, the distortion of competition is increasing. And several companies like Airbus are sounding the alarm.
According to Geoffroy Roux de Bézieux, this is an issue that will determine the next five years. The solution ? “We must decorrelate the price of gas and electricity in Europe”. “Europe first” must be implemented.
The Medef would have preferred transport aid based on kilometers
Geoffroy Roux de Bézieux also returned to transport aid. “Fuel aid: 100 euros is better than nothing,” he said. He recalled that companies have the possibility of financing a fuel check and he hopes that certain companies will take charge the planned increase in the Navigo pass.
According to him, 80% of French people take their car to get to work and travel an average of 27 km per day. “There is a cost to go to work,” he acknowledges, adding that it is “a pity that this aid” is not backed by the number of kilometers traveled by employees. In the meantime, companies must take into account this fuel bill for employees, even if it means making additional gestures to retain or attract them, while certain sectors are in shortage of labour.
Favorable to the extension of the duration of work
Finally, Geoffroy Roux de Bézieux returned quickly to the pension reform. Unlike the other unions, the Medef is in favor of extension of working time. For him, the situation is almost mathematical. Today the ratio between employees and retirees is 1.7, which means that for a retired person, there are 1.7 people who contribute through their work.
However, this figure – thanks to the lengthening of life expectancy and therefore the aging of the population – continues to decline. It was two in the year 2000. It is therefore necessary to find new balances, otherwise the system can no longer be financed, estimates the Medef. However, Geoffroy Roux de Bézieux warns the government: this reform should, according to him, serve only to finance the deficit of the pension system and only that. No question of using the reform to fill holes elsewhere.