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Thursday, October 21, 2021

Emmanuel Macron unveils £25bn ‘France first’ election plan to reverse years of industrial decline

While he said that France had reclaimed the mantle of “most attractive country in Europe, with employment levels not seen in 20 years”, he conceded that it had taken key decisions “15 to 20 years later than some of our European neighbours” and now needed to “to become again a nation of innovation and research”.

A “commando spirit” would be required for it to regain its erstwhile status as an industrial powerhouse and achieve the necessary growth to finance France’s costly but sacrosanct social model.

“We need a country that produces more,” he said. “We must wage the battle of innovation and industrialisation at the same time.”

‘The winner takes it all’

Some €8bn would be put on the table for decarbonation with a further €4bn spent on transport, including a low-carbon plane and the battery sector, another €2bn on sustainable agriculture, €3bn to produce 20 ‘biomedicines” by 2030 and €2bn on culture, space and deep sea exploration as France is the world’s “second marine power”.

A further billion euros would be spent on securing raw materials that have been lacking since the pandemic, €6bn on electronic and robotic components, and €5bn on start-ups.

While the plan was very much France-focused, Mr Macron did add: ”We must rebuild the framework for productive independence for France and Europe” to counter global powers such as the US and China.

“The winner takes it all,” he added.

The €30 billion comes on the back of a €100-billion recovery plan announced last year to help France weather the coronavirus pandemic, a large share of which went to promoting greener energy policies.

Economists said the plan would only take on real meaning if private investors jumped in to multiply spending.

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