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France accelerating plans to ease lockdown restrictions

A waiter wears a protective face mask as he stands in front of the terrace of Cafe de Flore, as bars and restaurants reopen after two months of nationwide restrictions due to the coronavirus outbreak, and are allowed to install terraces on the sidewalk, as well as on the parking lots on the streets, on June 02, 2020 in Paris, France.
Edward Berthelot

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Sunday said he was accelerating plans to ease the country's coronavirus lockdown to revive the euro zone's second biggest economy more swiftly.

Macron promised that the cost of keeping companies afloat and people in jobs during the worst economic downturn since World War Two would not be passed to households through taxes.

Restaurants and cafes in Paris would be allowed to reopen fully from Monday, Macron said in a televised address, bringing relief to a hospitality industry battered by the crisis.

The government expects the economy to shrink by 11% in 2020.

The coronavirus emergency had exposed France's, and more broadly Europe's, heavy reliance on global supply chains, from the car industry to smart phones and pharmaceuticals, that were paralyzed when the epidemic first broke out in China.

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Drone footage captures Paris as officials gradually lift lockdown orders

"The only answer is to build a new, stronger economic model, work and produce more, so as not to rely on others," Macron said.

Macron also touched on the anti-racism protests that have spread to France in the wake of the death of African American George Floyd in the United States.

The global outpouring of anger has forced France to confront allegations from ethnic minorities and rights group of racism and brutality within France's own law enforcement agencies.

Macron said skin color too often reduced a person's opportunities in France, promising to be unflinching against all discrimination.