French economic reforms under Macron

French President, Emmanuel Macron. (AFP)
Updated 17 July 2017
0

French economic reforms under Macron

PARIS: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Monday hailed French President Emmanuel Macron’s “ambitious” reform program, saying his spending, labor and tax overhauls could go “a long way” toward tackling high unemployment and weak growth.
The IMF raised its 2017 growth forecast for France by 0.1 points to 1.5 percent and said it could “further accelerate” next year.
“The new government is pushing ahead with an ambitious economic program to make France’s economy more dynamic and its public finances sustainable,” the IMF said after its annual analysis of the French economy.
“The envisaged labor and tax reforms are aimed at boosting growth, employment and competitiveness,” it added.
It also said the centrist government formed by Macron, a 39-year-old former banker, “has rightly emphasized” the need to decrease public spending.
A less profligate approach will “help gradually reduce the budget deficit and debt,” the Washington-based IMF said.
Macron’s government has pledged to meet the EU deficit limit of 3 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2017, a target France has missed for the past decade.
It has identified €4.5 billion ($5.1 billion) in savings across government departments this year.
Local governments will also have to tighten their belts, Budget Minister Gerald Darmanin said Monday, announcing €13 billion in funding cuts for towns, departments and regions by 2022.


Shell, Exxon not to seek compensation for end of Dutch gas field production

Updated 25 June 2018
0

Shell, Exxon not to seek compensation for end of Dutch gas field production

AMSTERDAM: Energy companies Royal Dutch Shell and Exxon Mobil will not submit a claim for missed revenue due to the Dutch government's decision to halt gas production at the Groningen field by 2030, the Dutch ministry of Economic Affairs said on Monday.
"A lot of gas will be left in the ground," Economy minister Eric Wiebes said at the presentation of his deal with the oil majors responsible for extracting Groningen gas.
"That gas is the property of the oil companies, but they will not submit a claim and the government is not required to compensate them."
The Dutch government in March said it would end gas production at the Groningen field by the end of the next decade, in an effort to stop a string of relatively small, but damaging earthquakes caused by gas extraction.
This will leave around 450 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas in the ground, Wiebes said, with an estimated value of approximately €70 billion ($81.5 billion).
The decision to halt Groningen production forced the government to broker a new deal with Shell and Exxon Mobil, whose 50-50 joint venture NAM is responsible for the field.
NAM will be required to pump as much gas as the government says is needed in the coming years. In return, it will see its share of the revenue from Groningen rise from 10 to 27 percent, Wiebes said, starting this year.
As part of the deal, NAM will also contribute a total of €500 million to strengthen the economy in the Groningen region.