MOSCOW (Sputnik) – France will have to revise its economic growth for 2021 down from 6 percent to 5 percent due to the coronavirus restrictions, Minister of Economy Bruno Le Maire said in an exclusive interview with Journal du Dimanche (JDD).
“Closing schools and 150,000 businesses is crucial to stopping the spread of the virus. But these measures will have an impact on the French economy. We are therefore going to revise our growth from 6% to 5% for 2021,” the minister told the newspaper in an interview published late on Saturday.
Le Maire’s statement comes four days after French President Emmanuel Macron announced and implemented new country-wide COVID19 restrictions in an attempt to slow down the spread of the coronavirus.
“This estimate is both sincere and prudent,” Le Maire added in reference to the economy growth revision.
However, taxes will not be increased, the minister of economy said, adding that the country had previously managed to effectively protect companies, their employees and the French in general from bankruptcy.
According to Le Maire, last year, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic in the European Union, the country recorded 35,000 business bankruptcies, compared to 50,000 in ordinary times. In addition, France’s massive support of apprenticeships allowed 500,000 young adults to benefit from this training.
Le Maire also assured traders whose shops were closed due to the surge of COVID-19 cases in the country that the government would continue to support them. Restaurant owners will receive up to 200,000 euros (approximately $235,185) in aid per month under the solidarity fund, the minister said. In addition, companies with high rent expenses will have it covered up to a limit of 10 million euros.
The minister of economy said the government’s restrictions must be in place for “as long as the health crisis lasts”.
France has entered its third national lockdown as the country’s hospitals risk being overfilled. The country is currently seeing around 5,000 patients in intensive care units with 46,677 new cases of the coronavirus recorded on Friday.