0:57 30 April 2021
Post by: WBJ

French ambassador about the vaccine race, economy and women’s rights

Top diplomats in Warsaw tell the WBJ about the vaccine race, economy and women’s rights. One of them is Frédéric Billet, French ambassador

French ambassador about the vaccine race, economy and women’s rights

How successful has the Covid-19 vaccine drive been in your country?

As of March 12, over 4.5 million French citizens – 6.8 percent of the population – have received one dose of the vaccine. Of those, over 2.1 million have already received their second dose. We are accelerating our vaccination campaign: a new daily vaccination record was broken on March 11 with 285,000 jabs, the preceding weekend nearly 335,000 people were vaccinated, multiplying by five the rate of vaccinations over a single weekend. We are facing delays in the delivery of the vaccines.

What is the economic forecast for your country for the first half of 2021?

The French economy is showing resilience when it comes to the crisis despite a high degree of uncertainty about how the health situation evolves. In Q1 2021, according to cautious forecasts surrounded by uncertainties, growth is at the level of 3 percent. For 2021, the government’s target of 6 percent GDP growth remains attainable according to the National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE) despite a difficult start to the year. Our central bank’s forecast is more cautiously slated at around 5 percent. An unemployment rate of 11 percent will be observed in the first half of 2021, followed by a strong recovery.

In light of the recent near-total abortion ban in Poland, how strong are women's rights in your country?

The French president made equality between women and men a part of his mandate. One of the missions of our equality minister is to implement a series of measures to combat violence against women. The issue of equal pay between women and men that remains at stake is tackled by promoting the achievements of women in all fields. Voluntary termination of pregnancy was legalized in France in 1975. French authorities believe that it is crucial that the women have access to complete and reliable information. Our government launched a dedicated website for the public.

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