On April 11th, the Action Plan for Growth and Transformation of Businesses (PACTE) Bill was adopted by the National Assembly, after 28 weeks of parliamentary debates. The Government presented the text as the second stage of its economic reform program, following the Labour law reform that was adopted in 2017.
The text encompasses many areas of the national economy. In particular, it aims to facilitate the creation of enterprises and their day-to-day operations, to mobilize savings in favor of business innovation and creation, but also to develop employee ownership and savings. The bill also includes provisions related to the digital sector, dealing more specifically with issues such as patents, software, cryptocurrency but also autonomous vehicles. It opens the door to the privatization of Aéroports de Paris (AdP, operator of airports in the Greater Paris Area) and La Française des Jeux (FDJ, French lottery operator) that would contribute to a fund for disruptive innovation. It also strengthens the powers of the Minister of Economy and Finance to carry out due diligence on foreign investments in France in strategic sectors. The adoption of this symbolic text is a political victory for the Government, in particular for Bruno Le Maire, who succeeded in having it adopted without substantial changes. But this success could be marred should the referendum process of shared initiative initiated by the opposition against the privatisation of AdP were to succeed. However, it still has some hurdles to clear (validation by the Constitutional Council and then gathering 4.5 million signatures) before it can be held, at best in 15 months.