French business chief predicts decline of Parisian dominance

Victor Mallet in Paris May 14 2020 Print this page 15 Be the first to know about every new Coronavirus story Get instant email alerts The coronavirus pandemic could have profound effects on the way people work in modern economies but is unlikely to reverse the globalisation of industrial supply chains, according to Geoffroy Roux de Bézieux, president of the French employers’ federation Medef. He said he expected teleworking — as practised by 5m French employees to avoid the spread of the Covid-19 virus — to continue on a large scale even after the crisis and to contribute to the “demetropolisation” of French life in favour of secondary towns.“For 20 years all the wealth, all the jobs have been concentrated in metropolitan areas, obviously Paris but also other big cities,” he told the Financial Times in an interview. “People will live in Chartres or Orléans and work at a distance from there much more frequently. They have discovered that you can work from Chartres or Orléans pretty easily.”The French economy — about a third of its output generated in the Ile-de-France area that includes Paris — is expected to shrink by nearly 10 per cent this year because of a two-month lockdown of the population and other measures taken to tackle the pandemic. “What’s totally new is the voluntary slowdown of the economy,” Mr Roux de Bézieux said. “That’s something that has never happened in modern economic history.”




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