Unanimous support from National Council.
One of the highlights of the parliamentary year is the public budget debate between the Government and the National Council. After its presentation on Friday 11th December, the parliamentarians had a week to discuss the proposed 2010 budget and ask questions.
Government planning was clearly cautious, in keeping with the current economic climate, but with the assumption that things are getting better. On Monday the debate began, centred around homes, foresight and governance. Some members of the National Council called the budget unimaginative, but the Minister of State noted that it was more important at the moment to support companies. There was however a lot of debate about the lack of communication from the Government regarding the Tour Odeon and the use of the Constitutional Reserve Fund.
Key points of the 2010 budget are:
On Thursday 17th December, the National Council gathered to vote on the Government's 2010 budget. It went through with 21 votes for, 1 against, and 2 abstentions, the best majority for any budget during Jean-Paul Proust's term as Minister of State.
In contrast to the support for the 2010 budget, the revised one of 2009 was voted in during October by a very small majority: 5 for, 4 against, and 12 abstentions. Central to the debate was the management of the Odeon Tower project. Parliamentarians expressed their disapproval over lack of consultation during summer, essentially being presented with a "fait accompli". Additionally the agreement between the Government and the developer had been renegotiated. As a result, the two sides locked horns over 3 evenings, finally calling for an audit. The outcome is that the Odeon Tower has not yet been included in the budget.