President Emmanuel Macron has announced his plan to ‘reindustrialise’ France, including new rules on European manufacturing and eco-friendly loans.
Unveiling the proposals, he called the drive the “mother of all battles” before adding: “I am convinced that we can win.”
Mr Macron added improving industry would “create purchasing power” in France and “stop the decline” in certain areas.
Here are the key measures that Mr Macron put forward:
Eco bonus for European-produced vehicles
Since 2007 there has been an eco bonus aimed at incentivising French people to buy environmentally friendly vehicles.
Mr Macron has proposed looking again at how this bonus works.
In a bid to support European industry, he wants to limit the incentive to vehicles produced on the continent.
“I don’t want to support companies that are not producing on the European level,” said Mr Macron. “They won’t [finance Europe], so I don’t see why we would [finance them]. It’s a little revolution at the European level.
“We’re not going to use French taxpayers’ money to help non-European industrialisation,” he said.
Similarly, the eco bonus will also take into account the carbon footprint of the vehicle’s production process, which aligns with the European-centric policy given that much of manufacturing in China still relies on coal.
The current eco bonus is not means-tested but does depend on the price and type of the vehicle (electric, plug-in hybrid, car, van, etc.), up to a limit of 27% of the purchase price.
For a second-hand vehicle, the bonus is €1,000. It can rise to €6,000 for a new electric car.
Tax credits for green industry
Mr Macron also announced he would create a ‘green industry’ tax credit for European technologies. This includes projects to produce eco-friendly batteries, heat pumps, wind turbines, and solar panels.
The measure is intended to “financially support decarbonisation", the president said. Aimed at manufacturers, the aim is to raise €20billion in investment by 2030.
The measure will aim to "massively reduce imports of strategic equipment or components from other countries that benefit from it”, Mr Macron said.
Faster industrial permits
Mr Macron said he wants to speed up the approval process for industrial projects, to face up to the competitiveness of the US and China, and President Joe Biden’s recent announcements on supporting American industry.
He said he would aim to “halve” the time it takes to approve projects. It currently takes around 17-18 months.
The president also said he wanted to introduce “hyper-simplified” processes to make approval even easier.
€1billion to ‘free up industrial land’
Mr Macron has long spoken about recycling former industrial wastelands to free up available land for new, eco-friendly projects.
He said the state would have funds of up to €1billion available "for industrialists [wishing to set up] sites that are ready for use".
‘Choose France’ summit
These announcements are set to be discussed in detail at the sixth edition of the ‘Choose France’ summit, which is set to be held at the Chateau de Versailles on Monday, May 15.
This initiative was launched in 2018 and seeks to attract new investment in France from abroad.
€700million for eco-friendly training
Mr Macron confirmed this investment in training would focus on “the professions of the future", in particular in the fields of decarbonisation industries, especially in the hydrogen sector.
Jobs that are currently “under tension” will also be prioritised.
What has the reaction been?
The response appears mainly positive so far. Alexandre Saubot, president of France Industrie, said: “There are tangible results seen over the past few years that we can continue to build on. [The plan] seems perfectly good to us.”
However, Green MP Marine Tondelier criticised Mr Macron’s request for the EU, saying: “People in France are asking for a change in the retirement reforms [but] Macron is suggesting a pause on ecology.”