The executive is working on aid for households and sectors affected by the economic consequences of the Ukrainian conflict.
During his speech on Wednesday evening on the subject of the war in Ukraine, Emmanuel Macron did not hide that the conflict would affect the functioning of the French economy. “Our agriculture, our industry, many economic sectors are suffering and will suffer, either because they depend on imports of raw materials, or because they export to these countries.“, admitted the Head of State, with the consequence of a growth “inevitably affected”.
Matignon is therefore responsible for developing “an economic and social resilience plan“. On the set of TF1 this Thursday, Jean Castex confirmed that the State would support companies affected by the war and the international crisis with Russia. “We identify the sectors concerned: aeronautical construction, agriculture, air transport, space, automotive industry”explained Jean Castex, assuring that his government was still in a phase “assessment of the impact of sanctions and possible counter-sanctions that Russia could take”.
This aid should, however, be less generous than that released at the time of the pandemic. The head of government estimated on TF1 that the conflict in Ukraine was not comparable to the recession of the pandemic in terms of economic consequences. “The direct exposure of French companies to the crisis is limited. We should not expect their losses to be covered as massively as when there was the solidarity fund., observes the director of economic research of the Euler Hermes Group Ana Boata. In 2021, exports to Russia weighed 6.5 billion, indicates Bercy.
“The most important thing is the indirect exposure of companies to the sharp rise in energy and commodity prices. But here too, the state will not be able to support everyone. There should be targeted aid for certain sectors, certain types of highly exposed companies, which lack cash reserves such as SMEs”, continues the economist.
The government wants to prevent companies from passing on these cost increases due to inflation in the final price, which would weaken the purchasing power of the French. The challenge of this resilience plan remains primarily social as the presidential and legislative elections approach. On Thursday, the Prime Minister said he was attentive “to purchasing power, especially energy, with oil at the pump, Russian gas on which we are dependent, electricity”.
Jean Castex spoke of maintaining existing aid to reduce the energy bill of the French. Since the fall, the executive has put in place the energy check, the inflation allowance, the freezing of the regulated gas tariff or the cap at +4% from September to February of the increase in the price of electricity. “If we have to continue, we will continue”, he asserted.
However, the government’s room for maneuver remains limited on a budgetary level. “We are in the exit phase from Covid, which has cost the state 70 billion per year over the past two years. Above all, the government must keep the financial capacity to manage the medium term, especially if the extreme scenario of a blockage of Russian gas supplies occurs”, warns Ana Boata of Euler Hermes.