Officially, nothing has changed. As the third wave of the Covid-19 epidemic sweeps over France, the urgency in Bercy is to be at the bedside of businesses and jobs. After spending 77 billion euros in 2020, the State should devote 32 billion this year to emergency support of the economy (solidarity fund, partial unemployment, exemptions from social contributions), said the Minister for Accounts public, Olivier Dussopt, Friday March 26.
As for the recovery plan of 100 billion euros launched in September, and of which 26 billion have already been disbursed, it has “Vocation to accelerate the recovery”, according to the former socialist deputy, while the executive still considers the objective of 6% GDP growth in 2021 to be attainable. “For us, today, the priority is the concrete implementation of the French and European recovery plan”, we confirm in the entourage of the Minister of the Economy, Bruno Le Maire.
Will these efforts be sufficient? After a year of health crisis, the country seems to be living a scenario worthy of a bad disaster movie, with saturated hospitals, schools on the verge of closure and the prospect of a new strict confinement. Could the economy recover from a third seal? Thursday March 25, in front of the press, Emmanuel Macron said that Europe will have to “Improve” its economic and budgetary response to the crisis, so that the recovery is “More vigorous” and does not diverge too much from that of the United States. “This is one of the lessons of the crisis for Europe as well as for France: we need to drastically simplify our responses. We are too slow, we are too complex, we are too stuck in our own bureaucracies ”, added the Head of State, speaking at the end of the European summit.
“There is a risk of dropping out of Europe”
Change of foot, or a simple call to order to the address of the French administration like Brussels? “The crisis lasts, it is normal to think about constantly adapting our response instruments”, we say to the Elysee, refusing to talk about a swelling or a new recovery plan. It prevents. As the end of the crisis recedes, the idea that the budget extensions already granted will be sufficient fades away.
“The music will change”, estimates Xavier Ragot, president of the French Observatory of Economic Conjunctures (OFCE). At the end of January, the members of this Keynesian-inspired think tank called for the size of the French recovery plan to be doubled, in order to strengthen infrastructure, health, education or research. They are not the only ones to find the “whatever the cost” too stingy: at the end of February, François Bayrou, high commissioner for the plan, pleaded for a vast plan of “Reconquest of the productive apparatus” from 200 billion to 250 billion euros.
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