The coronavirus epidemic is causing an unprecedented economic crisis worldwide. In Europe, the growth figures are alarming for the future. This makes the Minister of Economy Bruno Le Maire fear a "downgrade" of the continental economy. 

And now the "downgrade". Bruno Le Maire agitated yesterday the risk of the economic "downgrading" of Europe against "China and the United States". 

Words which are very strong, and which follow those of Edouard Philippe who spoke last Tuesday of the risk of "collapse of the economy". It is true that these figures on growth in the first quarter (- 5.8%), published yesterday, are very worrying for the future. 

Why ? Because the first quarter ended March 31. There was therefore only fifteen days of confinement. fifteen short days in three months that the quarter lasts. And yet, you have seen the damage. These two short weeks of confinement were enough to cause the worst recession since the statistics came out.

You mean that the second quarter (which we are currently experiencing) will be much worse, in terms of growth?

Yes. If we make a rule of three, we realize that in a period of confinement, the activity drops by 35%. What does it mean ? Imagine a second quarter, entirely confined. That would give us a growth of - 35%. As the activity will start a little after May 11. We can count on a fall in growth of around 20%, at least. You realize, a growth of - 20%. It's monstrous, it's unheard of. 

Yes, but Axel, we console ourselves, telling ourselves, that it is the same thing with our neighbors (in Germany, in the United States, even in China).

Except that China has never made - 20% growth. As for the United States, we know the rebound capacity of this country. No unfortunately, it is to be feared that this coronavirus will accelerate what Bruno Le Maire calls the risk of "downgrading of Europe". That is to say whether we must succeed in this economic recovery. 

With a unique chance, however. Since we have to revive the economy, revive industries, let's be bold! This may be the unique opportunity to start a carbon-free recovery around clean energy. With, in the end, not a downgrading of Europe, but an asserted leadership on the central question of the preservation of the climate.