French finance minister: We will bring about collapse of the Russian economy

The French finance minister has warned "we will bring about the collapse of the Russian economy" with sanctions imposed over the invasion of Ukraine.

French finance minister: We will bring about collapse of the Russian economy
France's Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire. Photo by Ludovic MARIN / AFP

Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire made the prediction on Franceinfo, a day after France, the EU and others said they would impose a new round of sanctions on Russia.

The balance of power in the sanctions stand-off between the European Union and Russia is “totally” in favour of the EU which “is in the process of discovering its own economic power”, he said.

The French finance minister is already in the process of drawing up a list of oligarch-owned assets in France, including yachts, property and bank accounts, for seizure.

READ ALSO Visa, flights bans and property seizure: How EU sanctions against Russia will affect France

On Monday, the EU added top Kremlin-linked oligarchs and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman to its sanctions blacklist.

Among the high-profile names were close Putin allies Igor Sechin, head of state oil giant Rosneft, and Nikolay Tokarev, boss of pipeline mammoth Transneft.

Three men ranked within Russia’s 10 top richest by Forbes were also added: metals magnate Alexei Mordashov, tycoon Alisher Usmanov, and businessman and Putin friend Gennady Timchenko.

Le Maire said the total amount of Russian assets being frozen amounted to “almost 1,000 billion dollars”.

After the Russian central bank raised its key interest rate to 20 percent on Monday, “companies can only borrow at high rates”, Le Maire said.

Le Maire acknowledged that ordinary Russians would also suffer from the impact of the sanctions, “but we don’t know how we can handle this differently”.

Le Maire said he would talk to France’s two energy giants TotalEnergies and Engie in the coming days to decide on their involvement in Russian energy projects.

There was now “a problem of principle” with any collaboration with people close to Putin, Le Maire said.

His remarks, which came after other energy majors including Shell and BP announced that they would pull out of Russia, cause Engie’s share price to slump by five percent in early Paris bourse trading Tuesday.

Engie is notably involved in Russia’s pipeline project Nord Stream 2, which Germany last week put on hold when Moscow recognised two Ukrainian breakaway republics.

An aide to French President Emmanuel Macron also told reporters Monday that the imposition of new sanctions, which are to “raise the cost” of Putin’s war, was “a priority”.


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France to begin phasing out paper receipts for shoppers

A new French anti-waste law is set to go into effect in the new year, and it could spell the end of paper sales receipts in l'Hexagone.

France to begin phasing out paper receipts for shoppers

If you live in France, or are planning to visit in the new year, you might find your pockets or the bottom of your purse a bit emptier, as the country is doing away with automatically printed receipts (cash register tickets).

As part of a French anti-waste law voted on in 2020, the new regulation, which comes into effect January 1st, 2023, aims to fight “against the dangerous substances present in cash register tickets” and “to remedy the significant waste that these tickets represent,” according to the French government website Service-Public.

According to Service-Public, there are at least 30 billion sales receipts printed each year, creating lots of waste.

Parts of the anti-waste law have already come into effect, outlawing things like single-use plastic cutlery and coffee and cups and limiting packaging on food.

READ MORE: How France’s new anti-waste laws will affect you

The new rules regarding receipts will apply broadly, according to Ouest France, “both large and medium sized stores” across France, as well as “any establishment receiving the public where receipts are issued” will have to respect the anti-waste regulation.

This also includes vending machines and bank card tickets as well, according to Service-Public.

Customers can, however, still request a printed receipt if they would like one. 

Additionally, those who want a record of what they purchased or how much it cost can also request a non-printed receipt – either in the form of an email, text message, or perhaps on their online profile with the store (if they hold a loyalty card).

As for companies’ perspectives, the “Federation of Commerce and Distribution” told Ouest France that French businesses were not “asking for this law,” but “are keen to respect [it]” and that they are committed to reducing their environmental impact.

READ MORE: From takeways to coffee cups: Here’s what France’s new anti-waste law means

Helpful vocabulary

Receipt – ticket de caisse, un reçu

Non-printed receipt/ e-ticket – ticket de caisse dématérialisé

Waste – Gaspillage

Could I please have a receipt printed? – Est-ce que je pourrais avoir un reçu imprimé ?

Could I please have a receipt by text message? Est-ce que je pourrais avoir le ticket de caisse par SMS ? 

Could I please have a receipt by email? – Est-ce que je pourrais avoir le ticket de caisse par mail ? 

I have a loyalty card. Could you please upload the receipt to the online portal/ application? J’ai une l carte de fidélité. Est-ce que vous pouvez envoyer le ticket de caisse dans mon espace personnel dans l’application ?