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‘Nobody with a job will lose a cent,’ says France’s finance minister

France, Germany pledge hundreds of billions to help workers, employers over coronavirus


March 13, 2020
By The Associated Press

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France’s government is promising to compensate virus-related salary losses for “99 per cent” of workers, as travel bans, school closures and other measures take a heavy toll on the economy.

It’s part of tens of billions of euros the government says it will stump up to support the economy, as French financial markets plunge and companies curb activity to try to stem the spread of the virus.

“Nobody with a job will lose a cent,” Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on BFM television Friday.

“OK, for the highest salaries we might think of putting a limit on compensation, but we will provide for 99 per cent of employees” who see wage losses linked to virus containment measures.

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He also loan guarantees to small and medium businesses struggling because of the virus.

“We will do whatever is necessary to support our economy and even more. How much will it cost ? Tens of billions of euros.”

France has more than 2,800 confirmed cases, including 61 deaths.

The situation in Germany

The Germany government is pledging at least 460 billion euros in guarantees to cope with the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak.

Germany’s economy minister, Peter Altmaier, said there was no limit to the amount the government was willing to use to support everyone from individuals, such as taxi drivers, to large companies, to prevent the corona pandemic from causing permanent harm to the economy.

Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said the 2008 financial crisis following the collapse of Lehman Brothers offered lessons for the current situation.

“We will use all means at our disposal,” he said at a joint press conference with Altmaier on Friday.

Scholz told reporters in Berlin that thanks to careful spending in recent years the government was in a position to spend heavily to put in place necessary measures such as tax relief for companies and relaxing labour regulations.

“We won’t do things by half-measures,” he said.