PARIS – Macron announces national recovery plan of ‘at least €100 billion’

To mark France’s Bastille Day on 14 July, President Emmanuel Macron made several announcements concerning the economy, the pandemic, his new government and the start of the new school year.

In anticipation of “a massive increase in unemployment”, expected to be between 800,000 and one million, the French president announced that the national recovery plan will include a “long-term partial activity scheme” estimated at €30 billion.

“It is better to cut wages than jobs, but there will be no extortion […]. I hope that the employee who agrees to make an effort, on the day when things get better, will be entitled to his share. And the shareholder must also make an effort for his dividends,” said the French president.

Young people will be “the priority of this recovery”, via work-study programmes. Thanks to a “tax exemption scheme”, 300,000 integration projects and integration contracts will be created, as well as 100,000 additional civic service placements.

Macron also announced that he was not giving up on pension reform, which had caused protests even before the COVID-19 pandemic but signalled he might change tack. “I’m not stubborn about doing it right now. (…) It cannot be done the way it was done before the crisis,” he said.

Regarding the pandemic, he said he was in favour of “the compulsory wearing of masks in all enclosed public places” from 1 August.

“It is accelerating again. We have signs that it’s picking up a bit. We have to warn and prepare,” the president said, adding that France would be ready to deal with a second wave thanks to secure stocks of equipment and medicines. (Anne Damiani | EURACTIV.FR)

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