LOUIS (Reuters) – French people are heading to the United States in record numbers as they seek food security and a chance to help build a nation that is increasingly defined by its borders, an economic analyst said on Monday.
French President Emmanuel Macron has pledged to create 1 million jobs for French workers by 2020 and is trying to lure in U.S. companies with the promise of new tax incentives, he said in a speech at the opening of a new French-American Business Association.
But Macron’s speech overshadowed a summit on Monday with President Donald Trump in which Macron urged the U.N. Security Council to create a global agreement to fight the Islamic State group, which has seized large swaths of territory in Syria and Iraq.
The French-born president also stressed the need for unity among the continent’s two biggest economies, calling on other nations to follow suit, but did not directly address the refugee crisis engulfing France.
The United States, which hosts the largest number of refugees in Europe, has also stepped up deportations of undocumented migrants, while the United Kingdom has cut off funding to refugee camps in Lebanon.
Macron and Trump are due to speak by phone later on Monday, according to a senior White House official.
The U.K. and France have been negotiating for months to resolve the migrant crisis and some Western nations have said they might consider more cooperation if Macron offers to help stem the flow.
But the U-turn comes as some Europeans are increasingly alarmed at the risk of a U.C.V. outbreak in France that is believed to have infected at least 200 people in recent weeks.
The number of confirmed cases of C.V.-2 in France rose to 767, up from 615, according the UCL Institute of Infectious Diseases, the most recent data available.
France has seen more than 6,000 cases of the virus, most of them in Paris, since October.
France has also reported a sharp rise in cases of influenza, which is the most contagious of all the coronavirus strains, to more than 1,200 in the past month, according data from the National Center for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC).
The disease has also been spreading to the U, U.A.E., Italy and the United Arab Emirates.
The European Commission on Monday said it is seeking the help of the European Union, which provides more than 40 percent of France’s gross domestic product, to ease the burden on French health authorities.
The commission also wants to see more cooperation between the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), the EU’s main regulatory body, and the U.-U.S.-Canada Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The EFSA said on Sunday it was also working with other member states to ensure that the rules and procedures of food labelling and testing are in line with the latest scientific knowledge.
France, which imported nearly 90 percent of its food products from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), has been under pressure since the outbreak in October to help control the spread of the pandemic.
The Paris prosecutor said on Saturday that about 100 French people have died from C.v.2, up sharply from 20 in October.
The prosecutor’s office said that in addition to the 687 deaths recorded in October, it had counted 1,600 cases of coronaviruses.
In a statement, the agency said that more than 70 percent of people infected with C.vi had died and the remaining 35 percent of cases were under treatment.
It said the death toll was expected to rise in the coming days.
France is one of the world’s top producers of meat, eggs, fish and dairy products, but has struggled to stem a growing appetite for beef and pork, which are considered to be healthier.
A government study released on Monday showed that France’s consumption of meat rose to its highest level since at least 2001, while consumption of dairy products fell.
The study also showed that consumption of poultry rose by 12.3 percent in the first quarter of the year to 3.8 billion euros ($3.9 billion), while consumption rose by 4.5 percent in October and 4.7 percent in November.
A total of 11.6 million people were unemployed, up by about 10,000 from the previous month, the government said on Tuesday.