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Covid recovery: President Macron to address France on Sunday

French President Emmanuel Macron is to address the public this Sunday, and is expected to cover topics including the impact of deconfinement, and plans to kickstart the economy - including tourism - after the crisis.

Mr Macron’s speech will take place on Sunday June 14 at 20h, and will be broadcast live on television and online.

Topics expected

He is expected to address issues such as the effects of confinement, deconfinement, and give an update on the current health situation in the country.

Read more: ‘More than 3 million lives saved’ by European lockdown

He is also set to lay out the government’s plans to jumpstart the economy and society after months of enforced confinement, according to information from the Élysée Palace.

These are likely to include support for workers and businesses, as well as decisions for the tourism, automobile, and aeronautical industries, and for young people and apprenticeships.

The President is also expected to reveal more information about the €500 billion European Union economic plan - dubbed the Recovery Fund - that was co-presented this week (Monday June 8) with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

This plan is intended to limit the effect of the pandemic on the European economy, and may even include the unprecedented sharing of debt and material between member countries. This would allow, for example, Italy to rebuild its economy along similar lines to Germany, which is not possible at present, because each country is responsible for its own debt.

Previously, Germany, the Netherlands, and Austria especially have been against such a system.

Fourth speech to bring deconfinement changes?

This will be President Macron’s fourth speech about the coronavirus SARS-Cov-2 - which causes Covid-19.

He previously spoke on March 12 to announce that schools would close, followed by March 16 to announce confinement. He later spoke on April 13 to announce the start date for deconfinement (May 11).

It is not yet clear if Mr Macron will address or change the current plans for deconfinement, the third stage of which is still set to begin on June 22.

Read more: Deconfinement in France: key June and summer dates

This week, government spokeswoman Sibeth Ndiaye said: “Even though the epidemic is under control, the virus is still present in the country. We are moving forward seriously, with much care. France is largely ahead on deconfinement compared to its neighbouring countries.”

Read more: Covid-19 now ‘under control’ in France: Top scientist

Ms Ndiaye added that the government was set to hold two meetings on Friday “specifically dedicated to the healthcare question”, which would “allow us to see what is possible to evaluate when it comes to June 22”.

Some commentators have suggested that this may point to a possible change to stage three of deconfinement.

For example, junior tourism minister Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne also said this week that restaurants in Ile-de-France may be allowed to reopen “a little earlier than June 22” if the health situation permits. Currently, only the terraces of restaurants in Ile-de-France are allowed to open.

The suggestions come after several heads of industry have called for a faster “return to normal”.

Geoffroy Roux de Bézieux, president of business network MEDEF, this week called on the government to “revise the health protocol applying to businesses” to allow a faster “return to normal”.

Similarly, major hospitality and restaurant union UMIH this week demanded that cafés, bars and restaurants in Ile-de-France (as well as Mayotte and French Guiana, which are also under restriction) should be permitted to “reopen quickly”, because “staying limited to terraces” was “not profitable”.

Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo also called for “coherence and pragmatism” from the government, and said: “If the indicators of the evolution of the epidemic are ‘green’, then we should be ‘green’’”.

Currently, most of mainland France is considered to be at a “green” level - meaning the healthcare system is in a good state and the virus is only circulating at a low level. In contrast, Ile-de-France is still on “orange”, with restrictions there set to remain in place until June 22.

Current state of health

The most recent Covid-19 figures from Wednesday June 10 suggest that France “is not seeing a restart of the epidemic”, said health authority la Direction Générale de la Santé.

There are currently 11,687 patients hospitalised with Covid-19, including 933 in intensive care. In the previous 48 hours, 23 deaths were recorded, bringing the country’s total of deaths to 29,319.

This week, the government said that it intended to end the state of health emergency on July 10.

Related stories

State of health emergency in France to end July 10

US press praises President Macron's Covid-19 response

The 4 key signs that Covid is retreating in France

Neighbouring countries opening up - will France join them?

Phase 2 deconfinement in France: What has changed?

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