Macron’s announcement for summer
On Monday 12th July, President Emmanuel Macron addressed the nation to communicate the government’s plans for the coming summer months. Here’s a breakdown of what was said.
The current situation
Over the past few weeks, the number of new cases has dropped below 2000 per day (as opposed to 35 000 per day at the height of the epidemic).
Hospitalisation and death figures have also dropped to their lowest in a year.
With over 35 million first injections administered and 9 million doses currently available, the vaccination programme has been deemed a success.
Nevertheless, the Delta variant is affecting all areas of mainland France and its overseas territories.
It is 3 times more contagious than the original strain and has pushed countries such as the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain to reinforce restrictions, while Japan will host the Olympic Games with no spectators.
All the vaccines currently available in France are effective against the latest Delta variant, reducing the rate of contamination by 12 and preventing 95% of serious cases.
In the face of the new variant, Macron highlighted that vaccination was “the only way to protect ourselves and others… the only path back to a normal life”.
2021 growth is forecast at 6%, putting France ahead of the biggest European economies, and for the second year running, France has been identified as the most attractive country in Europe.
If in 2020, 300 000 jobs were lost due to Covid, since the start of 2021, 187 000 new jobs have been created. In May, the number of CDIs (permanent contracts) matched the record set in 2006.
Of the €100 billion voted in autumn 2020, €40 billion have already been mobilised across the country.
France has also led the way in the international community’s decision to impose a minimum 15% tax on multinational corporations, cracking down on tax evasion and tax havens.
The government remains vigilant and committed to support those hardest hit by the crisis: young people, the self-employed and those working in culture, tourism, sport and restauration.
The government aims to vaccinate everybody across the French territory.
To begin with, the vaccine is being made obligatory for all those working in the health sector (whether medical practitioners or otherwise) including staff and volunteers in hospitals, clinics, retirement homes and those working with the disabled, elderly or vulnerable from their own homes.
These people have until the 15th September to have their injection(s), at which point controls, and sanctions, will be put in place.
Macron then called on the “individual responsibility [and] community spirit” of citizens and residents. He urged everyone to get the vaccine, but particularly the over 60s and those who are seriously overweight because they are running the greatest risk.
He also reassured those who were vaccinated first (in January/February), that they would be recalled for a booster shot from September.
Students will also have access to the vaccine in their establishments from September.
In order to end the pandemic permanently, France will continue to produce and send vaccines to poorer countries, in particular in the Balkans, Africa and the Middle and Far East.
He reminded everybody that although the vaccine was a necessary step, we should all continue to respect les gestes barrières (social distancing, hand washing etc.).
A state of emergency has been declared from 13th July in Martinique and la Réunion, with the curfew back in place to combat the rising pressure on hospitals.
In mainland France, as long as the incidence rate remains under 200, restrictions will only apply to the non-vaccinated (see below).
From this week, border controls will be tightened for international arrivals.
From 21st July, the pass sanitaire programme will be extended. You will need to present the pass sanitaire to access shows and concerts, theme parks and festivals.
From the beginning of August (subject to a vote on the law), the pass sanitaire will be required in cafés, restaurants, shopping centres, hospitals, retirement homes, planes, trains and long-distance coaches.
This applies to both customers and staff.
What is the pass sanitaire?
- Everybody over 12
- Proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test*
- Digital version via TousAntiCovid or paper version
|*From the autumn, PCR tests will no longer be free of charge without a prescription|
Macron confirmed that we would have to “live with the virus” throughout 2021 and for several months in to 2022, even with the vaccine.
He said that the recovery plan would aim to ease the economic and environmental pressures facing the country.
He cited these pressures as a lack of raw materials and labour shortages.
As such, the government will try to restore French and European independence in terms of essential products, services and technologies.
Paracetamol and electric vehicle batteries have already been relocated to France and a €7 billion investment plan is in place for health industry innovation. 160 000 new jobs have been created in the digital & technology sector.
The government is looking forward, constructing the France of 2030, and this future is based on one principal: work.
At a European level, the French presidency of the EU will begin on 1st January 2022, allowing for the implementation of industrial and technological independence.
At a national level, production and corporate tax reductions should help to boost the economy.
Continued investment in to education and life-long training will help all citizens and residents to earn a better living by going to work than by staying at home, which he conceded is not always the case at the moment.
He also suggested that once the sanitary crisis is over, the government would work on retirement and pension reforms.
This would include:
- Restructuring the 42 different retirement regimes into something simpler and more equitable
- Raising the retirement age in line with longer life expectancy
- Increasing all pensions for a full career over €1000 per month.
He confirmed that economic support, including programmes for young people (1 jeune 1 solution) and the elderly, will not be financed by tax increases.
The scrapping of the taxe d’habitation, the reduction in social security contributions and the reduction of income tax will all go ahead as planned.
My dear compatriots. This summer of reunion and a return to our roots, this summer of friends and family, must nevertheless be a summer of vigilance, of the fight against the virus, of vaccination.
I have confidence in you, confidence in us to remain united, calm and determined.