Macron says France accelerating easing of lockdown restrictions

A family watch French President Emmanuel Macron during a televised address to the nation, as the country eases lockdown measures taken to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Paris, France, June 14, 2020. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

PARIS (Reuters) – French President Emmanuel Macron said on Sunday said he was accelerating plans to ease the country’s coronavirus lockdown to revive the euro zone’s second biggest economy more swiftly.

Macron promised that the cost of keeping companies afloat and people in jobs during the worst economic downturn since World War Two would not be passed to households through taxes.

Restaurants and cafes in Paris would be allowed to reopen fully from Monday, Macron said in a televised address, bringing relief to a hospitality industry battered by the crisis.

The government expects the economy to shrink by 11% in 2020.

The coronavirus emergency had exposed France’s, and more broadly Europe’s, heavy reliance on global supply chains, from the car industry to smart phones and pharmaceuticals, that were paralysed when the epidemic first broke out in China.

“The only answer is to build a new, stronger economic model, work and produce more, so as not to rely on others,” Macron said.

Macron also touched on the anti-racism protests that have spread to France in the wake of the death of African American George Floyd in the United States.

The global outpouring of anger has forced France to confront allegations from ethnic minorities and rights group of racism and brutality within France’s own law enforcement agencies.

Macron said skin colour too often reduced a person’s opportunities in France, promising to be unflinching against all discrimination.

Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta, Michel Rose; Writing by Richard Lough; Editing by Edmund Blair and Jane Merriman

Originally published on Reuters

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