French Minister: ‘Scale of Current Economic Downturn Unprecedented Since 1929 Great Depression’

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PARIS – France, European Union’s second-largest economy (prior to Brexit it was the United Kingdom), is facing an economic crisis that can only be compared to the Great Depression of 1929, the Minister of the Economy and Finance, Bruno Le Maire, warned as he laid out government plans to mitigate the damage.

The French government will not allow the flagships of our industry… to go up in smoke just because there is an economic crisis of a magnitude unprecedented since the 1929 Great Depression in the West,” Bruno Le Maire said in an interview with France Info on Tuesday.

The minister was discussing ways in which French businesses can be assisted to traverse the economic slowdown aggravated by the Covid-19 pandemic and what Paris is expecting from them. For example, he warned private companies to be careful with their dividend payments and called on the banks to show national solidarity and voluntarily allow struggling individuals to postpone their credit payments.

“We will need economic patriotism now more than ever,” the Minister of the Economy and Finance, Bruno Le Maire said.

France set aside €45 billion to address the crisis, but that will be just the starting point, the Minister of the Economy and Finance said. The Great Depression of 1929 hit France later and less hard than it did in the United States and other nations at the time. Its effects, however, were felt throughout the 1930s and fueled anti-government sentiment, which spilled over into a crisis and riots in February 1934.

Currently, France is at stage 3 of the pandemic. Announced for 15 days minimum, the lockdown has been revised upwards. The scientific council gathered to fight against the coronavirus epidemic, that met on Monday, March 23rd and Tuesday 24th has shared their recommendations for the confinement of at least 6 weeks. Confined since March 17th, France could have to wait until April 28th, 2020.

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