Visiting Berlin this Wednesday, Minister of the Economy Bruno Le Maire welcomed the recent compliments from the German press on the French economy. An editorial in the highly respected German weekly Der Spiegel praised the dynamism of the French economy, comparing it to the poor performance of Germany, expected to be in recession this year, even describing France as “Germany but better”.
“I never thought I would see the words “economic miracle” and “France” in the same sentence,” Bruno 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 wouldn’t 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 has fallen to less than 10%. Germany is still well above 20%,” he further explained.
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According to most forecasts, the German economy is expected to end in recession this year, with a decline estimated 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% 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. “It is no wonder that international companies are currently investing much more frequently west of the Rhine,” he concludes.