The Minister of the Economy Bruno Le Maire welcomed on Wednesday, during a visit to Berlin, recent compliments from the German press on the French economy, while judging that there was still "a way to go considerable".
An editorial in the highly respected German weekly Der Spiegel recently praised the dynamism of the French economy, comparing it to the poor performance of Germany, expected to be in recession this year, even calling France a "Germany but better."
“I never thought I would see the words economic miracle and France in the same sentence,” Mr. Le Maire told the press, after a meeting with his German counterparts from Finance and Economy, respectively Christian Lindner and Robert Habeck.
But "I think that a little lucidity would not do any harm. We still have a considerable way to go to reindustrialize France. In my eyes, this is the fundamental battle," he said.
“France had a share of its industry in its GDP of over 20%, it fell to less than 10%. Germany is still well above 20%,” he further developed.
According to most forecasts, the German economy is expected to end in recession this year, with an estimated decline in GDP of between 0.2 and 0.4%, with the IMF forecasting -0.3%.
The country is weighed down by a sharp fall in its domestic consumption, due to inflation, still at 6.1% year-on-year in July. Its industry suffers from excessively high energy prices and less dynamic exports to China and the United States.
At the same time, growth in France is expected at 0.9% this year by INSEE.
According to Der Spiegel, "the gap is narrowing, and it is likely that it will continue to narrow", between the two economies, after years of German economic domination in Europe.
The weekly cites pell-mell the economic "reforms" of the French government, the energy price differential between the two countries, favorable to France, but also the "initiatives" of Emmanuel Macron in Europe to impose its concept of “strategic autonomy” against China and the United States.
However, France, and the EU countries, must “do better”, underlined Mr. Le Maire.
“We cannot be satisfied with an average growth of 1%. We cannot be satisfied with having productivity which is at half mast (...) with having investments in terms of innovation which are lower than those of China or the United States,” declared the minister.
He renewed his pressing calls to “define a clearer, more proactive, more innovative European industrial strategy”.
Paris and Berlin also want to spearhead an initiative to “put an end to the excessive bureaucracy of the European Commission, European authorities and Europe in general”. Lighter rules must encourage growth and innovation, assure the two capitals.
A subject of tension between the two neighbors who have different energy models, the reform of the electricity market was also at the heart of the French minister's visit.
“I am convinced that we can reach a common understanding with Germany on this energy subject and the reform of the European energy market,” assured Mr. Le Maire.
“Germany and France are working hand in hand to implement these reforms,” said Mr. Habeck, while other sources deplore the lack of progress in the discussions between the two countries in Brussels on the reform of the electricity market.
13/09/2023 18:58:55 - Berlin (AFP) - © 2023 AFP