France

French economic growth will return to around 1.4% a year as public investment to spur the recovery from the Covid pandemic offsets the damage from a sharp recession, according to long-term government forecasts, Bloomberg News reported. President Emmanuel Macron’s government expects stronger growth rates in the short term as activity catches up with pre-crisis levels around the end of this year. As that surge fades, a 100 billion-euro ($116 billion) stimulus plan should ensure growth potential stabilizes at around 1.35%, a social-economic report published Monday shows.
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France urged its European Union partners to consider whether to delay negotiations on the bloc’s future trade agreement with Australia over what Paris says is a lack of trust sparked by a major defense deal among the U.S., Australia and Britain, the Associated Press reported. French European Affairs Minister Clement Beaune said that he would raise the trade pact and the security implications of the deal, known as AUKUS, at a meeting with his counterparts in Brussels, and that France would ensure that it is discussed at EU summits and ministerial meetings next month.

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The U.K.’s grid operator delayed the restart of a key power cable from France by almost a month, potentially deepening the nation’s energy crisis, Bloomberg News reported. Half the capacity of the IFA-1 U.K.-France line will come online Oct. 23, following a fire that knocked out the conduit earlier this month, National Grid Plc said in a remit notice. It had originally targeted Sept. 25 for the partial restart. Full 2,000-megawatt capacity is not expected until March 27. The delay comes as the U.K.

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French dairy giant Lactalis is in talks to buy Kwality Dairy (now Kwality) in a fire sale as the company’s creditors have failed to reach a timely agreement on its debt resolution, forcing the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) to send it to liquidation, the Economic Times of India reported. Talks between Lactalis and Kwality Dairy’s creditors have gathered steam over the past few weeks and could result in the former making a formal proposal for Kwality Dairy in the next 8-10 days. This could be Lactalis’s fourth acquisition in India, if the creditors agree to its proposal.
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The French government plans changes to its state-backed financing program for small firms that was designed to fuel investment after the worst of the Covid-19 crisis as it’s met with little success, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said, Bloomberg News reported. The financial instruments, known as participative loans, were meant to ween small companies off a reliance on debt by offering a product that has some of the advantages of equity.
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French economic activity almost reached pre-pandemic levels in July as businesses largely shrugged off some renewed restrictions while supply difficulties increasingly constrained production, Bloomberg News reported. Activity was between 1% and 1.5% below normal in July, the highest it’s been since the pandemic struck, according to the Bank of France’s monthly survey of 8,500 firms. While business leaders expect a similar performance in August, the share of companies reporting supply difficulties rose for the third consecutive month to 49% in July.
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France took a big step on Monday into a post-pandemic future by requiring people to show a QR code proving they have a special virus pass before they can enjoy restaurants and cafes or travel by plane, train or bus across the country, the Associated Press reported. The measure is part of a government plan to encourage more people to get a COVID-19 vaccine shot and slow down a surge in infections, as the highly contagious delta variant now accounts for most cases in France. Over 36 million people in France, or more than 54% of the population, are fully vaccinated.
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The French government accused Britain on Thursday of enforcing discriminatory new rules that will lift quarantine requirements for most vaccinated travelers — but not for those arriving from France, the New York Times reported. The British authorities announced on Wednesday that, starting in August, a quarantine would no longer be required for travelers from the United States or from most of the European Union who had been vaccinated with shots authorized by either American or European drug regulators.
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Mainly people who are vaccinated or recently tested negative for Covid-19 will be allowed in bars, restaurants and malls in France starting from August, President Emmanuel Macron said on Monday, as the spread of the virus increases across the country, the Wall Street Journal reported. The new restrictions will also apply in trains, domestic flights, theaters, amusement parks, concert halls, hospitals and nursing homes. Authorities will reinforce border controls this week and impose quarantines on travelers who aren’t vaccinated and have arrived from countries at risk, he added.
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Air France-KLM has begun negotiations with Boeing Co. and Airbus SE on what could be the group’s biggest-ever aircraft order as it seeks to expand low-cost operations and renew part of its main Dutch fleet, Bloomberg News reported. The 160 single-aisle planes would be destined for the Transavia discount division and European operations at KLM, a spokesman said on Monday. The brands currently operate only Boeing jets on short- and mid-range routes. The contest will pit Boeing’s resurgent 737 Max against Airbus’s A320neo-series narrow-bodies.
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