Home Business the government is preparing aid for households and businesses

the government is preparing aid for households and businesses

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Russia’s threats to cut off its gas exports to the European Union pose a danger to the most exposed countries, Germany and the states of central Europe. “We are preparing for all scenarios”explains Bruno Le Maire, answering questions from The cross.

The head of government, Jean Castex, should present within seven to ten days a “resilience plan”, intended to absorb the shock for the French economy: it should include three components. The first will relate to aid for businesses, even if there is no question of renewing the “whatever it takes”.

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“The Ministry of the Economy is currently doing a lace-making job to define the companies that will be supported”, says Bruno Le Maire. These are those which consume a lot of gas, which have lost a significant turnover because they no longer have access to the Russian market, or which are very exposed to international competition, and therefore cannot absorb the increase in their costs by raising their prices.

Gas checks

The second part of the plan will concern households. Help could come in the form of checks for families who absolutely need their car to go to work. The government is not considering lowering fuel taxes, a measure that would cost too much. Finally, the third section should finance the acceleration of the energy transition, with increased support for the purchase of electric vehicles and the renovation of buildings.

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Beyond these national measures, the Minister of the Economy insists on the need to find collective responses. A Council of Heads of State and Government of the European Union is meeting on Thursday 10 and Friday 11 March in Versailles. The appointment was made a long time ago, on the occasion of the French presidency of the EU. But it takes a new turn because of the war in Ukraine. “This meeting will be a success if we manage to free up financing margins in favor of the energy transition”says Bruno Le Maire to The cross.

Brussels could discuss directly with Gazprom

In the current context, France considers that it is more necessary than ever to review European energy policy. The EU could in future oblige each member country to have greater storage capacities and to centralize gas purchases. Thus, Brussels would discuss directly with Gazprom. Today, each private supplier negotiates on its side. France is also pushing for the development of hydrogen production, which then makes it possible to produce electricity.

“The tragic events we are going through remind us that Europe must accelerate its energy independence”, recalls Bruno Le Maire who wants to make France a “world champion” of the production of green hydrogen. He went to Normandy on Tuesday March 8 to present the first production projects, in France, of green hydrogen (produced from non-carbon energy), a plan which involves 7 billion euros of public investment. by 2030.

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The return to the stability pact can wait

To finance all this, France insists on the extension of the “Next Generation EU” plan beyond 2026. This European plan of 750 billion was adopted last year to revive the economy after the Covid epidemic and aims already financing the energy transition.

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France also wants to postpone the return to the rules of the stability pact. These rules limit the budget deficit to 3% of GDP and the level of public debt to 60% of GDP. In principle, this budgetary straitjacket must again apply on January 1, 2023. But the Europeans already have an appointment next May to examine a possible extension of the current state of exception, where these rules have been set aside. .

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