French PM announces two-bln-euro aid to culture sector

Paris, Aug 26 : French Prime Minister Jean Castex on Wednesday announced a two-billion-euro (2.36 billion US dollars) rescue plan to support the country’s pandemic-hit culture sector as part of the government’s economic recovery package.

French arts and culture, still shackled by restrictive sanitary rules, would get “an exceptional fund” to compensate for losses and kickstart activities despite the ongoing effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, Castex told France Inter radio.

Stressing that “the priority is to get (the sector) started again,” he called on the French public to “resume their cultural and social life as normally as possible” while protecting themselves by respecting barrier gestures.

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“Go to the theater! Go to cinema! You don’t risk anything. Living with the virus is also cultivating yourself with the virus,” Castex said.

The Prime Minister warned that “the virus is still here and it has not gone down in terms of its virulence.” However, he ruled out a new national lockdown to curb the spread of the virus, Xinhua news agency reported.

To mitigate the economic fallout of the pandemic, the government is scheduled to present on September 3 details of its general 100-billion-euro recovery plan, which focuses on reviving economic activities and preserving jobs amid the persistent crisis, Castex said.

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The French government has already mobilized 460 billion euros, representing 20 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), to help companies stay afloat through the coronavirus outbreak. The fund mainly consists of tax and payroll charge deferrals, in addition to specific plans to rescue the worst-hit sectors, such as tourism and the auto and aviation industries.

The government expects the French economy to contract by a post-war record of 11 per cent for the whole year of 2020.

Disclaimer: This story is auto-generated from IANS service.

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