The money is part of the so-called “France Relance” recovery plan, which aims to deal with the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The entire investment plan is worth 100 billion euros, or the equivalent of a third of the state’s annual budget.
A little more than 40 billion euros of this amount will be provided by the European Union, as part of the so-called Union recovery and resilience mechanism in order to support businesses, rethink production models, transform infrastructure and invest in training.
To access this money, member states must include at least 37% of spending in investments and reforms that support climate goals and 20% towards digital transition.
In order to demonstrate its commitment to these goals, France has gone much further, with around 50% of these funds earmarked for the environment and 25% for the digital economy.
This means that around € 20bn of the EU’s Recovery and Resilience Facility will be used for climate goals, with the government supplementing this by € 10bn to meet its € 30bn pledge. .
Paris intends to focus its climate action on improving the energy efficiency of buildings, including support for the thermal renovation of buildings, as well as the decarbonisation of industry, green hydrogen, cleaner transport and transformation. of the agricultural sector.
Grégory Claeys, researcher at the Bruegel Institute says that in terms of transport, the French government wishes to significantly improve the quality of the rail network.
“Paris, for example, puts a lot of emphasis on railways, while in Germany, for example, we talk more about electric vehicles, electric cars, which is more in line with German industry. Of course, Paris is more focused on railways, and we know the importance of railways and TGVs in France. So that’s something they insist on, ”Claeys told Euronews.
The researcher added that France’s plan stands out from its neighbors because the government is really emphasizing retraining the country’s workforce.
“It’s really specific to the French level. I have not seen anything like this in other proposals, aimed at training and that seems useful to me because if we want to set up a green transition, a digital transition, there is a large part of training and also job changes that will take place with this green transition in particular. “
As part of the Paris plans, it will invest 36 billion euros in the retraining of workers, so that they are better prepared for an economy 2030 which will be considerably greener and more digitally oriented.
To avoid worsening inequalities, the recovery plan is designed to better support young people and vulnerable people looking for work throughout the country.
Part of it aims to train young people in strategic high-growth sectors to cope with the expected increase in the number of young job seekers.
The strategy also includes structural reforms at the national level.
But the plans do not mark a complete break with the past, but rather a continuation of the commitments of the French government, in particular the overhaul of unemployment insurance, the implementation of which has been suspended due to the pandemic.
The upcoming election year
The massive € 100 billion investment plan, however, comes a year before the 2022 presidential election, which Claeys describes as being, in part, an “electoral roadmap” aimed at the re-election of President Macron.
“The proposal is also a communication plan for the French to show that at European level, France is moving the lines a little and we know that this was one of the main elements of Emmanuel Macron’s program during the last elections. presidential and certainly will be. elements that he will want to highlight in the next presidential elections, ”Claeys told Euronews.
But Macron won’t be able to reap all the benefits of the plan on the campaign trail. While the first documents are expected in the coming months, the majority of EU funding is expected from 2023.