DOUAI President Nicolas Sarkozy unveiled a 26-billion-euro stimulus plan on Thursday to help France resist the global slowdown with massive state investment and aid for the struggling car industry.

 

Frances contribution to a Europe-wide economic revival drive, the plan combines big state infrastructure projects such as four new high-speed TGV train lines with measures to shore up hard-hit businesses and boost housing.

'Our answer to the crisis is a massive investment drive, because that is the best way to support businesses and to protect jobs,' Sarkozy said during a trip to Douai in northern France, home to a major Renault car factory.

Sarkozy announced a total of 10.5 billion euros (13 billion dollars) in state investments, pulling forward four billion euros of scheduled projects on top of four billion euros for the state energy, transport and postal companies.

To improve business cashflow, Sarkozy said the state would speed up the repayment of sales tax and of tax refunds for research and development investments in a package of measures worth 11 billion euros.

A mix of tax breaks and other incentives for businesses worth 700 million euros were rolled out to encourage job creation after recent data confirmed France had crossed the threshold of two million jobless in October.

Sarkozy unveiled targeted measures worth 1.5 billion euros for the car and construction industries, which together account for about four million French jobs and have been hardest hit by the spike in the countrys jobless figures.

A 300-million-euro restructuring fund for the car industry, notably car parts suppliers, was unveiled along with a bonus of 1,000 euros for car owners who scrap their old vehicle to buy an energy-efficient new one.

The French state will also provide a one-billion-euro loan facility to support national champions Renault and Peugeot, which have announced thousands of job cuts amid a collapse in sales.

For struggling construction firms, Sarkozy announced plans to build 100,000 new social housing units, support energy-efficient property renovation work and to double zero-per cent property loans.

The lowest-income French families were also set to receive a one-off 'bonus' of 200 euros to boost flagging consumer spending.

The plan worth 26 billion euros will put French public spending further in the red by 15 billion euros, with the public deficit set to climb to 4 per cent of GDP, beyond the 3-per cent European benchmark, officials said.

Opinion

Editorial

Road to perdition
Updated 01 Feb, 2023

Road to perdition

This is also the time of reckoning for those who sowed the seeds of a disastrous policy against militants.
Transport tragedies
01 Feb, 2023

Transport tragedies

TWO tragedies over the weekend illustrate the weak protocols governing the safety of transport in Pakistan. In fact,...
Disqualifying Jam Awais
01 Feb, 2023

Disqualifying Jam Awais

IT appears that there may be some kind of small punishment after all for PPP lawmaker Jam Awais, who was pardoned ...
Police Lines bombing
Updated 31 Jan, 2023

Police Lines bombing

Where the menace of terrorism is concerned, the government and opposition need to close ranks and put up a united front.
Oil price hike
31 Jan, 2023

Oil price hike

THE record single-day increase in petrol prices, preceded by massive currency depreciation, signifies the ...
Babar Azam’s award
31 Jan, 2023

Babar Azam’s award

BABAR Azam might not have lifted many trophies as Pakistan’s all-format captain in the last year but the star...