France to unveil “massive” stimulus measures this week to stop soaring youth unemployment

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France will unveil this week a “massive” support for youth employment and a new vast recovery plan including tax cuts for companies, announced the Minister of Finance Bruno Le Maire.The measures will add to emergency assistance to protect jobs and businesses during the foreclosure and a series of support plans for sectors such as tourism and automotive and aeronautical construction.

“This can go very high,” said Le Maire, when asked if the stimulus package would be between 50 and 100 billion euros.

The French government is looking for a balance between restarting a recovering economy and not overloading public finances.

Recent indicators show that consumer spending may recover faster than expected from the closure of the coronovirus, while public debt should already reach more than 120% of economic production.

But the government has warned that the outlook is bad for the end of this year, especially in the job market where it expects 800,000 job losses in 2020.

“The Prime Minister and President will announce a massive, immediate and effective plan for youth employment this week,” said Le Maire.

The broader stimulus package at the end of August will have the strategic objective of further stimulating job creation and the ambition to accelerate the transition to a low-emission economy, he said.

“In difficult times, we will be happy to be able to present new support to businesses at the end of August to tell them that we will reduce your taxes to make you more competitive, we will invest in an ecological transition,” said Mr. Le. Said Mayor.

The French Minister of Finance also reiterated his commitment not to raise taxes until the end of President Emmanuel Macron’s mandate in 2022.

He said there would be support for low-income households, although there are no general measures for consumers, such as sales tax reductions.

Meanwhile, joint borrowing from EU countries to finance a fund to recover from the economic crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic is not charity, said Spanish Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez before a crucial summit on the issue Friday and Saturday.

All the countries involved would contribute to paying down the debt, even the northern countries dubbed “frugal,” she said.

“It’s not like the Netherlands is providing charity to Spain or France,” said Gonzalez.

Each country will take a share of the debt proportional to its economic weight, she said.

Germany would provide 20%, Spain 9% and the Netherlands 6%, for example, said Gonzalez.

The 27 European leaders are expected to meet later this week to negotiate the EU’s seven-year budget and create a € 750 billion stimulus fund financed by the common debt.

Two-thirds of the amount would be transferred in the form of free grants and one-third in the form of repayable loans.

The creation of this fund pitted the wealthy from the North to the highly indebted South, which was hit hardest by the pandemic.

In Germany, Health Minister Jens Spahn said Germany can prevent a second wave of coronavirus in the fall if people stay alert, especially during the summer holidays,

Spahn said at a press conference that it is important to stay alert when traveling abroad and expressed concern over the photos of holidaymakers partying in Mallorca over the weekend and ignoring the rules of social distancing.

“I understand the impatience, but where there are parties, the risk of infection is particularly high,” he said.

“That’s why we have to try especially now during the holiday season to prevent infections. We should not automatically expect a second wave in the fall and winter. Together, as a society, we can prevent this, as we have done once: breaking the wave and controlling the pandemic, ”said Mr. Jens.

He added that more than 15.5 million people had installed the coronavirus warning app in Germany and that 500,000 people had been tested for COVID-19 last week, the most since the start of the crisis.

Meanwhile, concerns over poor working conditions in the meat industry after repeated epidemics of coronavirus in abattoirs could accelerate the tendency of Germans to opt for more expensive and better vegetarian and vegan meats and alternatives quality.

Europe’s largest pork producer, home to 1,500 varieties of sausage, has seen meat consumption decline for years, as people buy less because of health concerns and animal welfare concerns .

The coronavirus pandemic may have added yet another reason to the list after epidemics in slaughterhouses and meat packing plants have drawn public attention to the industry’s use of contract workers from Eastern Europe who live in cramped housing.

“We are seeing a trend from very cheap meat to better and better substitutes,” said Robert Kecskes, analyst at market research firm GfK.

“It’s not just about animal welfare, it’s about human welfare, and it will become ingrained in people’s minds. In this regard, the meat industry will certainly face difficulties in the near future, “he said.

Some 600,000 people around Guetersloh, in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia, were forced to close the cell on June 23 after more than 1,500 workers at the slaughterhouse and packaging plant Toennies’ meat has tested positive for Covid-19.

The factory was temporarily closed until July 17. Health and safety officials continue to inspect it and negotiate with the company a new proposed hygiene plan.

Toennies has been criticized by politicians for requesting government assistance to cover the wages of quarantined workers.

German Agriculture Minister Kloeckner announced after the epidemic plans for a series of measures to deal with what she calls the “serious consequences” of the downward pressure on meat prices -being animal, working conditions and farmers’ income, even at the risk of doing business abroad.

Sales of processed meat have steadily declined in Germany over the past five years, according to market data company Euromonitor, while sales of meat substitutes have increased by 12% compared to the same period in 2019.

Ruegenwalder Muehle, a company that previously specialized in deli meats but has turned into Germany’s largest producer of meat substitutes, said sales of its vegetarian and vegan products have jumped 50% so far this year , after a 44% increase in 2019. Bloomberg and Reuters

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