France facing worst recession since 1945 due to virus, says Economy minister

France facing worst recession since 1945 due to virus, says Economy minister

France is facing its worst recession since 1945 due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire told senators on Monday, according to dpa.

“I’ve drawn a comparison with the great recession of 1929 because I don’t see any other comparable economic shocks in the recent past,” Le Maire told the Senate’s economic affairs committee.

France’s worst figure since since 1945 was negative growth minus 2.9 per cent of gross domestic product in 2009, after the financial crash of 2008, according to the Economy Ministry.

This year was “very likely to be far below” the 2009 figure, Le Maire said. “That says everything about the economic shock we are facing.” The minister said that 5 million workers were now benefiting from government-funded short time working or lay-offs, typically getting 84 per cent of their ordinary net pay.

That was the most generous such scheme in Europe, Le Maire said, and it was already costing the government 11 billion euros (11.9 billion dollars).

Le Maire repeated his call for a European Union solidarity fund for post-crisis recovery.