News ID: 264602
Published: 0223 GMT January 20, 2020

French strikes to take a toll on economy: Minister

French strikes to take a toll on economy: Minister
French Economy and Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire speaks during the Euronext stock exchange's annual conference in Paris, France, on January 14, 2020.

The current wave of strikes in France will set the country’s economy back by 0.1 percentage point over the course of one quarter, French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire said Monday.

Le Maire did not indicate which quarter he was talking about, but last week the Bank of France said the strikes had shaved up to 0.1 percentage point off fourth-quarter growth in 2019, Reuters reported.

“There will be an impact but it will be, I think, limited. Today estimates available show that the impact would be of a 0.1 point on growth on a quarter. On the whole year, it is a very limited impact,” Le Maire told LCI television.

The showdown is now in its 46th day but is losing momentum since Emmanuel Macron’s government made some concessions and as strikers face mounting financial pressure to return to work.

After a fire Saturday damaged a renowned Paris restaurant patronized by President Emmanuel Macron, a French government minister warned that seditious groups bent on violence were hijacking the protest movement against pension reform that has gripped the country.

Marlene Schiappa, the government’s secretary of state for equality, said the blaze “probably” resulted from a criminal act. She described a climate in France “of hate and of violence that is quite incredible,” citing the restaurant fire among a list of examples, AP reported.

“Seditious groups want the law of ‘might is right’ to reign, to impose violence on all people who think differently from them,” Schiappa said on French news channel BFM-TV. “It is very alarming and unworthy of a democracy like France.”

After six weeks of labor strikes and nationwide protests against government plans to overhaul France’s pension system, there are mounting signs of splits within the movement. As some strikers return to work and train services that have been severely disrupted by walkouts see notable improvements, more radical protesters are trying to keep the movement going.

Macron’s name has been associated with the restaurant since he celebrated there during the 2017 presidential election, after qualifying for the second-round runoff that he later won.

Macron was a target of protesters himself on Friday night, too.


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