Grand State clerk, Jean Serise is dead

Senior official, he worked alongside Pierre Mendès France and Valéry Giscard d'Estaing. In 1965, he created the direction of the forecast at the Ministry of Economy and Finance. He died on May 4, at the age of 99.

By Françoise Fressoz Posted today at 14h46

Time to Reading 3 min.

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Jean Serisé, August 8, 1993, in Paris.
Jean Serisé, August 8, 1993, in Paris. PASCAL PAVANI / AFP

Until the end, he had kept a quick wit and a sparkle in his eyes that made him look like a young man. Jean Sérisé, who died on May 4th, in Paris, in his hundredth year, was a man apart. Senior official, but without the arrogance that sometimes goes with it. Economist, but oh so sensitive to the tragedy of man. Close to some great political figures and yet hermetic to power games.

The Ministry of Economy and Finance owes it the creation, in 1965, of one of its most valuable tools: the Department of Forecasting, which, from the national accounts, draws up the medium-term economic projections. Valéry Giscard d'Estaing lost a companion of half a century and France one of his great servants. At a time when the ENA is called to reinvent itself, the Bearnese, with modest origins, embodied what the school could produce better in the crucial years of the post-war period.

Born April 28, 1920 in Bordères (Pyrénées-Atlantiques), Jean Sérisé had joined the first class of the ENA, that of 1946. It was composed of strong heads, veterans, resisters who had lived the collapse of France as an affront and rejected any formatting at the time of reconstruction. He is passionate about Keynes in a France that does not know him. When he left school, he refused to join the prestigious treasure department to devote himself, with some companions, to the development of the macro-economy.

A follower of Valéry Giscard d'Estaing

The great era of planning begins, the rise of the national accounts serves to justify the interventions of the State in the economy. A symbiosis takes place between some high-level technicians and politicians who want to be interested in their work. When June 1954, Pierre Mendès-France enters Matignon, he calls Jean Sérisé by his side.

A few years later, Valery Giscard d'Estaing, a young minister of the economy, made him enter his cabinet to never part with it. The Enarque kept from those years a dazzled memory: "Valery was not at all like the politicians of the time, he had a scientific background and believed in progress. Every morning, he arrived with an idea, the whole team was fascinated, he liked to tell.

At the Elysee, where he is in charge of mission, Jean Sérisé will live the end of the glorious Thirties and the failure of Valéry Giscard d'Estaing to impose his "Advanced liberal society" in a France shaken by the double oil shock. The experience is painful. The election of François Mitterrand hurts him because, he explained "At the direction of the forecast, we had all the tools to know that it would lead to an economic failure ".

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