The year 2021 was to be that of “Hope”, announced Emmanuel Macron. It will be that of “Voluntarism”, rather evoked, Tuesday, January 12, Bruno Le Maire. Voluntarism is this “Attitude consisting in believing that one can modify the course of the events by the only will”, tells us the Larousse. At the risk of daring the comparison with a Nicolas Sarkozy who claimed to seek growth “With the teeth”, the Minister of Economy and Finance, during his greetings to the press, confirmed his ambition to see the French economy jump by 6% this year, confessing however that it is a “Challenge”. “The virus has foiled enough forecasts to force us to be humble”, he sighed.
Would the tenant of Bercy let shine a bit of weariness, even impatience, to find himself, again, stuck in the management of the crisis when he dreams only of reforms and revival? Just a few weeks ago, its teams thought, thanks to the arrival of the vaccine, to be able to put the word end to the Covid-19 pandemic which has plunged the gross domestic product (GDP) by more than 10% in 2020 At the Ministry of Finance, we were already beginning, not without relief, the conclusion of “whatever the cost”, these emergency measures aimed at supporting the sectors affected by the health constraints which have exploded the debt and the deficit . The Arthuis commission, named after its president, former minister Jean Arthuis, installed at the end of the year, was to outline in spring 2021 the tracks aimed at putting public finances back in good order. Bruno Le Maire, converted into spending and protector minister, could appear again as a man “Responsible”, in his words.
Increase in the solidarity fund
Alas, the sluggish start of the vaccination campaign mixed with the arrival of new variants of Covid-19, more contagious, obliges Bercy to dig even more into public funds to support health measures and prevent the collapse of sectors paralyzed. “We will put the necessary money”, Bruno Le Maire had already assured during a meeting with members of the Institut Montaigne, a liberal-inspired think tank, on January 7.
The government should therefore increase the solidarity fund by Thursday, January 14. The system, successively capped at 1,500 then 10,000 and finally 800,000 euros over four months, will soon offer up to 3 million euros to compensate restaurant owners, bars, hotels, sports halls or constrained event actors. at closure or directly impacted by health constraints. The challenge is to help the large structures, restaurant and hotel chains, wholesalers, etc., which have so far held firm. An additional period of one year – until March 2022 – is also envisaged to repay loans guaranteed by the State. The massive partial unemployment scheme will be maintained at 100% “As long as necessary” for closed businesses. Bercy ensures that it has sufficient funds, voted at the end of December in the 2021 finance bill, to cope. “We have anticipated” welcomed Mr. Le Maire on Tuesday.
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