Covid-19: the president of Medef says he is “optimistic”, Geoffroy Roux de Bézieux does not believe in “a massive increase in unemployment”

“I am quite optimistic, I do not think that we will have a massive increase in unemployment, I do not believe in a wave of social plans and bankruptcies”, declared Monday June 14 on France Inter, Geoffroy Roux de Bézieux, the president of Medef. “In March 2020, we predicted a million additional unemployed, this did not happen because the French economy has resisted much better thanks in particular to the partial unemployment scheme”, he continued, referring to the economic situation in France after the Covid-19 epidemic and the successive confinements.

According to Geoffroy Roux from Bézieux, State Guaranteed Loans (PGEs) have also made it possible to “freeze the natural process”. “There are 60,000 bankruptcies per year on average but in 2020 there were ‘only’ 40,000, so there will be a catch-up of bankruptcies”, warned the boss of Medef. But this catching up will be limited, according to him. “Our studies on our members tell us that 5% of companies will have difficulty repaying their loans guaranteed by the State, where the Banque de France says 6%.” These are small businesses that he “will have to help”, continues Geoffroy Roux de Bézieux. For those, he proposes to “extend the EMP” while reaffirming the temporary nature of this aid.

“Whatever the cost, it had to be done, it made it possible to avoid the explosion of unemployment, to avoid the explosion of bankruptcies but it is not a long-term policy.”

Geoffroy Roux from Bézieux

According to the boss of Medef, “the ‘whatever the cost’ must not turn into ‘whatever-in-costism'”. Geoffroy Roux de Bézieux believes that from the moment the health restrictions are stopped, on June 30, “we must stop the aid”. However, he does not deny as much the possibility of making some exceptions, in the event industry or for “those who live from foreign tourism”.

Always with optimism, the president of Medef sees in the current situation “a very strong catch-up effect” of the economy, with “a lot of forced savings which will lead to a consumption effect”, even if it is necessary, he says, “be careful” with “some uncertainties” on the horizon.

“The catching-up effect in 2021 is likely, but the real question is 2022 and the following years because it is difficult to say if this recovery is the catching-up of a year of frustration, of confinement, or if it will last. “

Geoffroy Roux from Bézieux

These uncertainties concern the difficulty of certain bosses in recruiting, the increase in the prices of raw materials, such as steel which “took 30%” or even problems “more structural” like the lack of wood in the construction. “And then there are more worrying things, the tensions between China on the one hand and the West, the rich countries on the other”, he clarified. “The worst is not certain, but there are still clouds on the horizon which worry the economic world”, according to Geoffroy Roux de Bézieux.

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