French fuel crisis resulting in loses worth millions of euros every day

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October 25, 2010 20:07

Strikers block the biggest oil depot in southern France to protest against Sarkozy's pension reforms. Photo - Anne-Christine Poujoulat/AFP/Getty Images

Who: French economy.

What: As French industrial action stretched into a seventh week, Economy Minister Christine Lagarde warned the walkouts were costing France 200-400 million euros a day in lost production. “We came out of the crisis in fairly good shape and we should not be slowing the rebound with action that is bad for the French economy and very bad for small businesses,” she said in an interview with Europe 1 radio.

Where: Strikes by dock workers at oil-importing ports at Marseille, which supplies half the country’s refineries, and Le Havre, which serves the north, have resulted in fuel shortages across the country. The southeastern city of Lyon is the hardest hit, with two-thirds of petrol stations dry or suffering shortages. Eight out of France’s 12 oil refineries are still blockaded.

When: The strikes entered their seventh week on Monday, 26 October.

Why: A largely unpopular President Nicolas Sarkozy has managed to get his pension reforms approved by the French Parliament, fuelling further unrest among workers who are challenging government’s plans of raising the standard minimum retirement age from 60 to 62. France, like other European governments, is looking at austerity measures while trying to decrease a massive budget deficit.

How: CGPME, an industry group defending interests of small and medium companies, estimated the strikes have costed France around 4 billion euros so far and damaged the country’s economic recovery. The country is suffering shortages of gasoline and diesel fuel, with one-in-four of the nation’s 12,300 service stations running dry due to the ongoing strikes.

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