French President Emmanuel Macron announced his strategy to “accelerate” the recovery of France’s industrial sector, and called on the European Union for a “regulatory break” in environmental commitments.
Macron had talked about his goals in a lengthy interview with the “Challenge” weekly, noting that re-industrialization is the “mother of all battles”, after he worked hard to reform the pension system, which the executive authority has long described as “the mother of all reforms”.
“I am convinced that this battle we can win,” he told representatives of the industrial sector in France at a meeting in the Elysee Thursday, stressing that making France an industrial country again also means “creating purchasing power.” He announced a number of measures to move the transition more quickly.
And he spoke about the first of these steps on Wednesday, referring to “simplifying procedures to a large extent” and “reducing the deadlines” for the establishment of this new industrial enterprise in France “by half”, from 17 or 18 months today to nine months “at most”.
Qualifying cadres for “future professions”
To achieve this, he said, and due to the scarcity of industrial real estate, the Land Bank will invest €1 billion to “decontaminate” neglected land and make it “ready for use” for future projects.
He also promised to allocate an additional 700 million euros to develop the qualification of cadres for “future professions” in the industrial sector.
Macron announced a “green industry tax credit” to support the production of batteries, heat pumps, wind turbines and solar panels.
This will be part of the green industry bill, which is expected to be presented Tuesday in the Council of Ministers and will allow “the launch of investments worth 20 billion euros on the national territory by 2030”, according to Macron.
As for the environmental bonus for buying an electric car, it will be adjusted to “take into account the carbon footprint” of its production and to encourage vehicles manufactured in Europe.
The same reasoning applies to general orders, which will take into account environmental standards for “core decarbonization products” such as wind turbines and heat pumps from July 2024 instead of 2026.
“European regulatory break”
Macron wants all these announcements to give a French breath to the European response to the preemptive, if not protectionist, policy that Joe Biden has put in place in the United States to support industry and the energy transition.
The French president called on the European Union to take a “European regulatory break” with regard to environmental restrictions, saying that they have already become stricter than anywhere else and now need to be “stabilised”.
But that angered environmentalists. “The French are asking for a break in the implementation of pension reform, and Macron is offering them a break in the field of the environment,” said Marine Tondelelier, national secretary of the “Europe Greens” group.
As part of his campaign to revive the industrial sector in France, Macron will visit a factory in Dunkirk on Friday, which is “the largest producer of primary aluminum in Europe,” according to the Elysee.
He will also officially announce new investments, including the establishment by the Taiwanese group “Prologium” of a fourth factory for electric car batteries in France, which is supposed to start production as of the end of 2026.