FRANCE SETS 100B EURO PLAN TO SPUR ECONOMIC GROWTH
The French government on Thursday announced details of a 100-billion-euro ($118-billion) plan to boost the economy after the devastating impact of the coronavirus pandemic, Pol O Gradaigh reported for Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa) late on September 3, 2020.
The headline figure was "the amount that our economy needs" after being battered by one of Europe's worst coronavirus outbreaks, with more than 30,000 deaths, Prime Minister Jean Castex said.
A strict 55-day lockdown from March 17 to May 11 had "produced undeniable health benefits but led to the paralysis of entire areas of our economy and undoubtedly the worst recession, historically, since 1929," Castex added.
Gross domestic product (GDP) shrank by 19 per cent year-on-year in the first half of 2020, according to national statistics agency INSEE. While the economic impact of the pandemic and lockdown has not been reflected in unemployment figures yet, authorities fear that a rise in joblessness is only a matter of time, with ministers warning that company failures are inevitable. "Our absolute priority is employment," Castex insisted, with 35 billion euros dedicated to "economically re-arming" France and promoting domestic industrial production. The plan includes 20 billion euros in tax cuts to benefit small businesses and competitiveness in manufacturing, he said.