Macron announces 30-billion-euro plan to re-industrialise France


PARIS: president Emmanuel macron announced Tuesday a € 30 billion ($ 35 billion) plan to reindustrialize France based on innovative and environmentally friendly technologies, including electric cars, hydrogen fuel and efficient nuclear plants.
Six months before a presidential election and one month before a UN climate summitMacron said France had made key decisions “15-20 years after some of our European neighbors” and now needed “to become a nation of innovation and research again.”
The spending was to address “a kind of growth deficit” for France caused by underinvestment in the past, he told an audience of business leaders and university students at the Elysee Palace.
France, he said, needed to return to “a virtuous cycle” that consisted of “innovating, producing and exporting and thus financing our social model” as part of a new “France 2030” plan.
Over the next decade, France would aim to become a world leader in green hydrogen, which companies and governments are increasingly putting at the center of efforts to decarbonize economic sectors that depend most on fossil fuels for their energy needs. .
France would obtain two electrolysis gigafactories for the production of hydrogen, as part of an investment of eight billion euros in the energy sector.
He said that following the COVID-19 pandemic, “which put us in front of our vulnerabilities”, France had to work for French and European productive autonomy.
France also needed to invest heavily in medical research, Macron said.
After the global outbreak of Covid-19The French pharmaceutical giants could not find a vaccine, unlike the biotech companies BioNTech and Moderna.
The goal now was for France to develop “at least 20” biotech drugs against cancer, as well as against emerging and chronic diseases, including those associated with aging, Macron said.
“We need to focus all our efforts on this goal,” he said.
A French presidential official, who asked not to be named, said Macron had presented the plan in the wake of the coronavirus crisis “which showed our vulnerability and our dependence on foreigners in some key sectors, but also the importance of innovation that can change everything.”
French officials believe France needs to act quickly to close the gap and not give more ground to emerging powers, particularly China.
French automakers, who Macron said had suffered “cruelly” over the past 30 years, should refocus their efforts on cleaner vehicles, aiming to put two million electric or hybrid cars on the road.
France would also invest “massively” to fly the first low-carbon aircraft with the help of European partners, he said.
Macron said France would also spend a billion euros by 2030 on “disruptive innovation” to produce atomic energy, especially by designing compact nuclear reactors known as “small modular reactors” (SMR) with better nuclear waste management.
Disruptive innovation is also needed in agriculture, where two billion euros will go to new technologies, he said, especially in robotics.
France should start “a new revolution” in food production that should be “healthy, sustainable and traceable”.
Agriculture would become cleaner, eliminate “some pesticides”, enjoy higher productivity and develop “biological solutions” that would be “more resistant and more robust,” the president said.
Meanwhile, about six billion euros were allocated to the French electronics sector with the aim of doubling production and “securing” the country’s microchip supply needs.
Opposition figures were quick to criticize Macron for the timing of the announcement, with Marine Le Pen, his far-right rival in April. Presidential elections 2022, saying he was “making promises that his successor must keep”.
The leftist candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon called the speech “macronian propaganda”, while the NGO Greenpeace accused Macron of subscribing to a logic that “always delays any real transition and continues to produce as if the planet’s resources were infinite.”

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