18 months from the organization of one of the biggest sporting events organized in France, the Court of Auditors is calling for vigilance. This is the content of the report presented on Tuesday by Pierre Moscovici, first president of the financial jurisdiction, before the culture, communication and education committee of the Senate.
Read our article. Security, accessibility, sponsors: what does the 2024 Olympics bill contain?
Speed up the operational phase
If the strategic planning phase “went well”, “the operational phase is more delicate”, defined Pierre Moscovici. The additional costs observed are due to inflation and supply constraints. Cojop increased its budget by 10% in December, to 4.380 billion euros, but has only limited reserves and has already obtained 115 million euros from 315 million.
The first recommendation of the Court of Auditors is to speed up the operational phase, especially by signing “as soon as possible the contracts for the provision of sites”. “As of the beginning of November 2022, only eleven of the 80 planned user agreements have been signed […]. This series of delays now exposes the committee to a proven risk, due to the resulting chain consequences in the preparation of the Games and, in particular, for the conclusion of negotiations on the outsourced model of delivery of the Games “, the Court is concerned, demanding that these agreements be signed in early 2023.
Another point of caution is related to transportation and safety. For the former, the Court “stressed the necessity of completing the infrastructure on time”. “I’m thinking of line 14, Porte Maillot, Gare du Nord,” quoted Pierre Moscovici.
Regarding security, the President of the Court of Auditors considered it prudent to “plan for adaptation situations in the event of a partial shortage”. “We hope to say it honestly,” he admitted, referring to both “a capacity risk for the state. “The Court recommends the increase of the operational reserves of the national police and the gendarmerie and expects the conditions of mobility for possible calls to the armed forces. There is also a possible financial shortfall if there is an additional call to the internal security forces. Who will pay? It should be clear Cojop, “he said.
Cojop is an association under the 1901 law that operates on private funds, but the State acts as guarantor in case of shortage.
“Probable lack of private security”
The centrist president of the culture commission, Laurent Lafon, as well as the senator LR Jacques Grosperrin then worried about the “gigantism” of the opening ceremony which for the first time in the history of the Olympic Games will not take place in a stadium but in the banks of the Seine where 600,000 spectators are expected. “Did you call for a lower level of service? »
Refusing to give an opinion on “a political decision”, Pierre Moscovici recalled that the responsibility of the Court is “to ensure that the means necessary to cope are guaranteed. We call for the choices to be clarified and for the necessary means to be put in place,” he insisted, adding that the final scenario for the opening ceremony has not yet been decided. “Again, choices must be made in advance because it will have an impact on the security plan”.
The Court of Auditors also warned of the risk of “probable lack of private security”. “It’s to be expected.” For the record, heard in the Senate in October, the Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin for the first time mentioned the “cancellation or postponement of events that require a lot of law enforcement”, such as the celebrations in the summer of 2024 in order to build vital forces for the Olympic Games.
“No significant deviation”
Finally, Pierre Moscovici made a defining point that the Court did not notice at this stage “significant drifts” in finance. “We note that all the methods followed are not implemented in a certain way and that there remains a certain number of uncertainties. But we are not in a position to give numbers. In this type of event, things often end up ex post”.
This report, prescribed by the 2018 law related to the organization of the Olympic Games, does not take into account the last revision of the budget of the Organizing Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games (Cojo) of December 2022. It will be subject to a second progress report on the organization of the Olympic Games that Pierre Moscovici will present in June to the Senate.