Coronavirus: France has spent €450bn to shore up its economy so far

French Economy and Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire arrives for press briefing following a videoconference with French President and representatives of companies in the hotel and commercial catering sector (HCR) about the future of the sector after the end of the lockdown, at the Elysee Palace, in Paris, on April 24, 2020, on the 39th day of a strict lockdown in France to stop the spread of COVID-19 (novel coronavirus). - The decision concerning the date of reopening of cafes, restaurants and bars will be taken end of May, said French Minister of Economy. (Photo by Ludovic MARIN / AFP) (Photo by LUDOVIC MARIN/AFP via Getty Images)
French Economy and Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire. Photo: Ludovic Marin/ AFP via Getty Images

The French government has so far spent €450bn (£402bn, $490bn) on a raft of fiscal aid measures to help the economy withstand the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

French finance minister Bruno Le Maire told BFM TV that the cost of the measures were equal to 20% of the country’s GDP.

France, like its neighbour Germany, mobilised a package of aid that included state-backed loans for companies, grants for small companies, and state-funded furlough schemes.

Le Maire said that the furlough programme — wherein the government pays 70% of a worker’s wages, while they are sent home— was the most expensive element of the aid measures for the government and would be gradually reduced from next month.

READ MORE: German companies felt a glimmer of hope in May

The finance minister noted that the €300bn earmarked for state-guaranteed loans would only affect the national budget if a borrower went bust.

The French government will set out its new support measures for the car industry this week — but any aid will come with the requirement that carmakers bring some of their production back home to France.

Le Maire told French daily newspaper Le Figaro last week that carmaker Renault (RNO.PA) is “fighting for its survival” and had applied for a state-guaranteed loan of €5bn.

French flag carrier Air France (AF.PA) has been offered a €7bn bailout from Paris, as a mixture of guaranteed bank loans and direct loans from the state. However, the airline has been asked to agree to “drastically” slash its CO2 emissions by 50% by 2030 in exchange for the aid.