When PWN Paris hosts an event with Agnès Verdier Molinié
, author, among other books, of "60 billion savings! yes but every year"
, it is not only a vivid lesson of economics, politics, social equity but also a pure moment of delight full of humor, common sense and pragmatism!
Agnès Verdier Molinié is one of those women who doesn't compromise with her core values (truth and transparency being some of them) and revere her political independence. On several occasions, to preserve her freedom of ideas, speech and actions she has declined offers for high profile political roles.
Yet her career still has lot of shine.
She started her career as an investigation reporter at prestigious media groups such as Le Figaro, L'Express, France Info, however, with her natural outspokeness, she confessed that after a while she wanted the "investigation" aspect of her job meaning going after the information rather than waiting for it come to her!
To satiate her appetite for studies, research as well as leverage her expertise in modern economy, in 2002, she joined iFRAP
, the French Institute for the Research on Public Administration and Politics. She is now the Director of iFRAP
which in 2009 was established as a Foundation and is the French think-tank
most solicited by the press, the radio and television for their work and documented research about the efficiency of public policies
Supported by a small team of four permanent employees and a lot of energetic, passionate and change-driven volunteers (does that remind you of another organization close to our heart?), Agnès Verdier Molinié feels very strongly about informing, educating and shaping public opinion on alternative and more efficient ways to run the country and make political decisions impacting all spheres of the French society and the public at large.
Some of you may remember her very concrete 50 measures
, each described in no more than 1600 characters, and published on a daily basis in Le Figaro, to show the French government that there are very tangible ways to save 50 billion euros
. In reality, as she shared with us last Monday, implementing most of those measures would have yielded much more than 50 billion savings.
So what does it take to change? Why France, being the European country dedicating the greatest proportion of its public spending to maintain a costly civil service, seems to be quite slow in initiating the major set of reforms IFRAP experts and researchers are recommending?
Agnès Verdier Molinié obviously has a very sensible response to those questions when she points out that in France there is a confusion between the political and the public systems as if they were just one and the same.
Very much aligned with the theme of our 2014 Best Of
, she advocates news forms of leadership and management in politics
- move away from excessive command and control
- enforce shorter mandates, put an end to dual mandates (politics should not been seen as her career she advises)
- apply lean management to politics to remove rework, duplication (France has a record number of municipalities), waste (the staggering figure of 33 billion euros is just the redistribution cost of public spending... 7 billion more than in Germany!)
and many others that she details in her latest book as well as previous ones.
Agnès Verdier Molinié is one of those female role models who has made choices she feels very comfortable with, and whoever talks to you, the economist, the IFRAP Director, the mother, the wife, she just remains herself.
"The sustainability of the French political model is a key question, it is where the value of each reform sits" she mentioned in her concluding comments, a statement that also characterizes her so well.