French finance minister sees further stimulus decision in September


FILE PHOTO: French Economy and Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire attends a press conference to kick off the 2020 income tax campaign at the Bercy Ministry of Finance in Paris, France, April 8, 2021. REUTERS / Sarah Meyssonnier

PARIS (Reuters) – The French government will take a decision in September on whether to complete its 100 billion euros ($ 120 billion) economic stimulus package, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Thursday.

President Emmanuel Macron escaped a “second recovery period” last week that would see investment accelerate, sparking speculation in the press and among economists that a second round of stimulus was underway.

His European Affairs Minister, Clément Beaune, a former close adviser to Macron, was even more explicit in calling for a second European-wide recovery plan.

However, Le Maire was more circumspect and had so far stressed that the most important thing was to ensure that the stimulus projects already budgeted were deployed.

“The time for decisions will come in September. In September, we will see what sort of economic situation France and Europe are in and we will see if certain budgets require additional expenditure because the economic situation justifies it, ”said Le Maire during a press conference.

Former IMF chief economist Olivier Blanchard and Jean Pisani-Ferry, the main economic architect of Macron’s 2017 election campaign, said in a research note here that the government should allocate an additional 40 billion euros for them. years 2022-2023 after the current relaunch. the package is exhausted.

France has already disbursed 30 billion euros under its stimulus plan since its launch last September, with spending focused on a series of public investments in environmentally friendly projects and measures to strengthen the environment. competitiveness of French companies.

The Mayor said the money helped France experience stronger economic growth than most other eurozone economies in the first quarter, when the French economy grew 0.4% despite various COVID restrictions.

He added that this gives him confidence in the possibility of reaching a growth target of 5% for this year.

Reporting by Leigh Thomas; Editing by Toby Chopra

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