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French government boosts Covid-19 emergency fund to 110 billion euros

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe details government plans for emergency funds for the Covid-19 epidemic following a cabinet meeting in Paris, 15 April 2020.
French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe details government plans for emergency funds for the Covid-19 epidemic following a cabinet meeting in Paris, 15 April 2020. REUTERS - POOL
3 min

The French government has expanded its coronavirus rescue package to include bonuses for health workers, funds for poor families and additional aid for the unemployed to assist them through the Covid-19 lockdown that was extended by President Emmanuel Macron by four weeks. 

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Two days after President Macron extended confinement until 11 May, French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said the government had agreed to boost a 45-billion-euro fund to support the economy through the epidemic to 110 billion euros.

The measures are to be included in a revised budget bill which will have to be approved by parliament. They include eight billion euros for the healthcare system, including four billion to pay for face masks.

Healthcare staff in areas most affected by the Covid-19 epidemic are to receive a bonus of 1,500 euros as well as higher pay than usual for working extra hours.

The package earmarks one billion euros for emergency aid to more than four million households, including special assistance of 150 euros per family receiving welfare benefits as well of 100 euros per child for the same families and those already on housing benefit.

Twenty-four billion euros for laid-off workers

Twenty-four billion euros in total for laid-off workers in the private sector, as well as seven billion for small businesses and independent workers, rounded out the measures affecting those out of work because of the lockdown.

The prime minister said the measures were based on a revised economic forecast for 2020 anticipating an 8 percent loss of gross domestic product (GDP), a deficit of 9 percent and debt of 115 percent of GDP.

“This revised budget bill will also oblige us to revise our macro-economic forecast in a period of high uncertainty,” Philippe said after a cabinet meeting. 

“Once the health crisis is under control, we must extend this plan with ambitious measures to ensure a strong and rapid renewal of the economy.”

 

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