Macron unveils $47 billion 'France 2030' investment plan

French President Emmanuel Macron said his long-term roadmap would give a key role to start-ups in building France's industrial future alongside well-established giants.
French President Emmanuel Macron said his long-term roadmap would give a key role to start-ups in building France's industrial future alongside well-established giants. PHOTO: REUTERS

PARIS (REUTERS) - France wants to be a leader in green hydrogen by 2030 and build new, smaller nuclear reactors as part of a €30 billion (S$47.04 billion) investment plan aimed at fostering industrial champions and innovation, President Emmanuel Macron said on Tuesday (Oct 12).

Speaking six months before the presidential election, Mr Macron said his long-term road map, dubbed "France 2030", would ensure the country massively decarbonises its industry and brings industrial production in key areas closer to home.

Setting out some of the plan’s targets, Mr Macron said France would by 2030 build a low-carbon plane, a small modular reactor as well as two megafactories for the production of green hydrogen. It would also produce large numbers of electric vehicles.

"We must wage the battle of innovation and industrialisation at the same time," he told a group of entrepreneurs, adding: "We need a country that produces more."

Mr Macron said the plan would give a key role to small, agile start-ups in building France's industrial future alongside well-established giants.

Pointing to a shortage of face masks when the Covid-19 pandemic first erupted, Mr Macron said the crisis had shown, on one side, a real vulnerability for all, and, on the other side, how crucial innovation and industrial production close to home are.

"We must rebuild the framework for productive independence for France and Europe," he said, adding that innovation would be key amid global competition for leadership and access to raw materials.

"The winner takes it all," he added.

Other 2030 objectives include investing in semi-conductors and beefing up innovation in the French health sector, including biomedicine.

The €30 billion come in addition to 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.

The wide-ranging plan was swiftly criticised by the opposition, with rivals saying this was electoral campaigning. 

"A few months from the end of his mandate, the outgoing president commits French money to restore his electoral image with promises which only bind his successor," far-right leader Marine Le Pen said on Twitter. 

"It’s the 'whatever the cost, I want to be re-elected!'," she said of Mr Macron.