Economic Minister Bruno Le Maire said in a newspaper interview regarding the French economy’s economic growth because it will expand by 5% in 2021.
This is after a third lockdown was ordered to tackle the coronavirus pandemic. The pandemic has prompted a downward revision in the previous government forecast for 6% growth.
Economic Growth of France
Le Maire said the new forecast was prudent in comments published on April 3 in Le Journal Du Dimanche.
“Our fundamentals are sound; we will be able to bounce back,” Le Maire said.
French schools and non-essential stores such as clothing chains will now be shut for four weeks after COVID-19 cases surged in recent weeks, edging up the number of patients in intensive care units.
Bars and restaurants have already been closed for months. Tourist travel is at a standstill, although unlike when France entered its first national lockdown a year ago, construction work and manufacturing are among business areas still ticking over.
Like many countries in Europe, France has plowed billions of euros. This is to help struggling companies with state-backed loans. It is also to help with rents and partial unemployment schemes.
The latest restrictions will force some 150,000 businesses to close temporarily. Aid measures in April will cost 11 billion euros, the finance ministry has said.
Le Maire has repeatedly called for the European Union. This is to accelerate the ratification and implementation of its 750 billion-euro economic stimulus plan.
He told the JDD that France was now unlikely to get the 5 billion euro disbursement from that scheme in July as planned due to delays.
France has its own 100 billion-euro economic reboot program. France plans to spend roughly half of that budget by the end of the year, Le Maire said.
President Emmanuel Macron sought to avoid a third nationwide lockdown. It is to protect the economy. But was forced last week to announce tighter restrictions across the country.
More contagious, deadlier variants have accelerated the spread of the virus. The vaccination campaign is yet to have a significant impact after getting off to a slow start.
What About the Rest of Europe?
In Germany, President Frank-Walter Steinmeier called on people to play their part and get vaccinated.
Speaking in a television address to the nation on Saturday, he said the country was in the middle of a third wave and faced more restrictions.
He also admitted that mistakes had been made – specifically in testing and in the vaccine rollout – and talked about a “crisis of trust” in the state.
“Of course, there is no single silver bullet to get out of the pandemic,” President Steinmeier said. “And that is why the political dispute is needed – but the arguing must not become an end in itself.
“Whether it’s about a federal or state level, party or coalition, or whether opinion polls are up or down – none of that can play the main role now.
“We need clarity and determination. We need understandable and pragmatic regulations so that people have direction so that this country can again achieve what it has within.”