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Covid crisis: Has France been more generous than other European countries in protecting homes?

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We are beginning to measure the impact of the Kovid crisis better and better. The results of the French Social Protection Accounts for 2020, presented by the Directorate of Research, Studies, Evaluation and Statistics (DREES) on Wednesday, December 15, show a 7.8% increase in the cost of social care (social security and allied health). ). In total, their value in 2020 will be 87 872 billion. It is not surprising, however, that resources, mainly containing contributions, are sustainable, and the explanation for this strong growth is the increase in costs. Thus, the amount of extraordinary costs associated with Pandemic is estimated at 46 billion euros, including 27 billion for partial unemployment.

If we look beyond the borders, many European countries have sharply increased their spending on social security by 2020. The main focus is on job security by establishing a partial activity that is never known. For areas that have completely stopped or become inactive, many states have reimbursed the employer the full or part of the wages paid in the form of compensation. Out of a total working population of 205 million, 32 million Europeans have benefited from this system.

If the chosen remedy is similar, the compensation conditions will be different. Thus, the coverage rate for partial activity rose to 90% in the Netherlands and 38% in Sweden (the least important country for regulatory measures). Like Spain or Belgium, France is above the European average with 70% support. Italy and the United Kingdom are slightly higher, with rates up to 80%.

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There are also differences in the level of expenditure on partial funding. In Portugal it is 126 euros per person, while in Luxembourg it is 3.505 euros. “English-speaking countries (United Kingdom, Ireland) have had to create equipment almost from the beginning, separated by a high level of cost,” Dries points out. The amount is about 1,500 euros. “At 925 euros per person, France is an intermediary, however, ahead of Germany, Sweden, Belgium and other countries in southern Europe,” the statistical organization said.

Home support measures

To support the families most affected by the crisis, European countries used tools other than partial measures such as the expansion of unemployment rights, the granting of extraordinary bonuses or tax breaks, and assistance to the self-employed. As a result, in many countries, such as Hungary (+ 162% but previously had a weak protection system), Austria (+ 63%) or Italy (+ 35%), the cost of social protection to fight poverty has increased significantly.

In France, this extraordinary aid represents 2 billion euros, an increase of 12% between 2019 and 2020. These measures made it possible to limit the decline in purchasing power. The Netherlands (+ 1.7%), Belgium (+ 0.9%), France (+ 0.3%) are stable, Italy (-2, 7%) and Spain (-4.9%). . According to the DREES, this reduction in Italy and Spain is significantly higher than the European average in employee pay and does not fully compensate for the increase in social assistance.

Long-term consequences

The question now is whether these measures will work in the long run. If it is too early to give an accurate answer, DREES learns an indicator of the need for employment that takes into account the unemployment rate, but those who work part-time are more active and want to work harder. In Europe, this demand increased from 13.4% in 2010 to 14.5% in 2020, an increase of 1.1 points. France is one of the best performing countries, with the index rising just 0.1 points to 2.8 points in Ireland, 2.5 points in Spain and 2 points in Germany. These countries were most affected by the fact that the number of their short agreements was higher than that of France.

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So is monetary poverty. It is not yet clear whether this has increased. The results are known only in a few countries. Dries reports that it is on the rise in Spain, Italy, Sweden and Portugal. Estonia is the only country where poverty is declining while rates are stable in France. “This indicates that in the vast majority of countries, even in countries where the total income for household consumption or investment has increased, the poor are the victims of the crisis,” Dries analyzes.