Editorial of the “World”. After the emergency, resilience.

Editorial. The success of the plan presented on September 3 will depend on the government’s ability to project itself into the future, between a possible resumption of the epidemic and a probable deterioration of the social climate with the explosion of unemployment.

Editorial of the “World”. After the emergency, resilience. If the government has somehow managed to cushion the shock caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, it is now tackling a much more delicate phase. It is about restarting an economy that has been plunged into hibernation for two months, while the health context has not yet stabilized. The Prime Minister, Jean Castex, presented, Thursday, September 3, a plan called “France Relance”. Its implementation will be particularly complex.

With an unprecedented crisis, new means. Thanks to this plan of 100 billion euros, an amount three times greater than that decided in the wake of the 2008 crisis, France is expected to return from the end of 2022 to the level of wealth reached before the pandemic, with key to the creation of 160,000 jobs. Beyond this short-term objective, the challenge is to accelerate the adaptation of the French economy to environmental and technological challenges by 2030. A third of the amount will be devoted to ecological transition (renovation of buildings, reduction of CO 2 emissions in transport, evolution towards more sustainable agriculture), a third for improving competitiveness and innovation and, finally, a third for employment, training and territory planning.

This plan has the merit of having learned the lessons of the failures of the revivals attempted over the past five decades. First, it avoids focusing on stimulating consumption, which has mainly resulted in the past in favoring imports to the detriment of “made in France”. While the plan pays particular attention to the populations most affected by the crisis, especially young people, the post-Covid recovery should not be reduced to a question of purchasing power. In fact, in the first quarter, the average income of French households barely fell (-0.3%, according to the OECD) and they accumulated nearly 100 billion euros in savings.

Encourage relocations

The government has not, as in the past, given in to the temptation to raise taxes, thus risking some of the effects of the stimulus being canceled. On the contrary, he chose to lower them, in particular by targeting so-called “production” taxes, which concern companies regardless of their level of profitability. This measure is likely to breathe new life into the competitiveness of French companies and appears consistent with the government’s desire to encourage relocations.

Still, with no less than seventy investment and business support programs, the implementation of France Relance will be far from obvious. Its success will depend on the government’s ability to project itself into the future, without being caught up by an unstable present, between a possible resumption of the epidemic and a probable deterioration of the social climate with the explosion of unemployment. He will also have to ensure that the expenses are incurred quickly and well, which is not won for an administration which has shown its heaviness during the health crisis. Finally, vocational training, reformed at the start of the five-year term, must show its ability to support employees facing the transformation of our economy. It is at this price that the necessary confidence will be gained so that companies, employees, local authorities and households play the game of a revival that should benefit everyone.