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05.08.2020 Europe

French prime minister announces extra aid package to struggling wine-makers

By RFI
Photo by: Education Images/UIG via Getty Images
LISTEN AUG 5, 2020
Photo by: Education Images/UIG via Getty Images

French Prime Minister Jean Castex has announced an extra €80 million in aid for wine-makers, hard hit by the Covid-19 crisis. This is on top of an intitial rescue package announced in May.

Prime Minister Castex made the announcement of an €80 million boost to the wine industry while on a visit to Sancerre region in central France on Wednesday.

This is on top of a government aid package of €170 million announced in May by Castex's predecessor Edouard Philippe in a bid to shore up the economy ravaged by the Covid-19 crisis.

"I've asked for this money to be made available very quickly to help with cash flow, which I know to be a problem," Castex said.

The wine-making industry in France has suffered from a major slow-down due to the coronavirus crisis and the impact of lockdown.

Castex said the money would go towards improving storage of excess stock and getting rid of what is not sold.

"In any case, we have decided to help these businesses weather the crisis in the best possible conditions," he added.

In total, French wine-makers estimate that the health crisis has caused the loss of around 1.5 billion euros due to the closure of bars, restaurants and entertainment venues during lockdown, as well as the cancellation of festivals and the lack of tourists due to border closures.

Further economic damage has stemmed from tariffs imposed in 2019 by the United States on wines under 14 degrees (except sparkling wine), retaliation in a tradewar between Airbus and Boeing.

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