Paris (AFP)

The French government is in discussions with Brussels to reduce the repayment period for loans guaranteed by the State (PGE) "from six to eight years", Minister responsible for VSEs and SMEs Alain Griset said on Thursday.

"We are starting to discuss with the European Commission on extending the duration of reimbursement of PGEs. We would like to go from six to eight years, to secure entrepreneurs," he said in an interview with the Parisian newspaper dated Thursday.

Entrepreneurs "should not have a sword of Damocles over their heads which would slow down the recovery", added the minister, indicating that he hoped "for a return from the Commission in 2021".

The PGEs are currently subscribed for a maximum period of 6 years, knowing that no repayment is now required for the first two years.

The Federation of Cooperative and Associated Trade (FCA), which represents 180 brands including groups of traders such as E.Leclerc, the Mousquetaires Intermarché or Intersport, had asked Wednesday for an extension of the PGE "up to eight years".

At the end of January, the Minister of the Economy Bruno Le Maire said he was open to a staggering of the reimbursement of these EMPs for the companies most affected by the crisis linked to Covid-19, and even to transform them "on a case by case basis "in subsidy.

By mid-January, nearly 132 billion euros of PGE had been granted to more than 642,000 companies since the start of the Covid-19 crisis.

Over 90% of them were very small businesses (TPE).

Between 4.5% and 6% of these loans may not be repaid, estimated on January 27 the governor of the Bank of France, François Villeroy de Galhau.

© 2021 AFP