Grey cells and green growth for France: 35 billion Euros

08.01.2010 By: TRANSFER

French newspapers ended 2009 with the publication of ‘le Grand Emprunt’: the president’s promise for a better France in the near future with well prepared impulses for a new economy. In other words: a total amount of € 35 bln being injected in the French economy in the upcoming years, with a strong aim to strengthen the French innovation potential and to secure the international position of French Universities by enlarging their attractiveness.

Following the advice of the commission Juppé-Rocard, the French president Sarkozy came up with five priority fields: Education, Research & Development, Digital Economy, Nuclear Power and Sustainable Energy and the SME within French Industry.

Education will receive a big part of the investment: € 10 bln. Besides that the French State sold 3% (€ 5 bln euro) of its EDF energy shares (the national electricity company) and intends to use this total of € 15 bln to enlarge and renovate the University area in the south of Paris, at The Plateau de Sarclay. This Sarclay area will be part of infrastructural plans and public services around Paris and sources mention the ‘pôles d’excellence’: prestigious and luxurious campus buildings to be constructed according to the American University model, with a library, a theatre, a social centre and sporting facilities. The Plateau de Saclay already has a high concentration of research centres and facilities and several large companies like Thales are established in the area. With a renovated and more prestigious Université Paris-Sud XI, offering the best students and the best researchers in close collaboration with business life, this Sarclay area will become the place to be at international level.

Another priority issue on the president’s list are French internships. A total amount of € 1 bln will be invested in creating internships and improving internship opportunities for certain social groups.

Besides Education, Research and Development also stand high on the priority list of the French president. Nanotechnology and Micro System Technology are issues of the highest interest in France and can be of big importance in the medical sector as well as in the environmental sector. Especially when combined with ICT. This due to the fact that ICT in combination with these technologies will influence shape and size of products being used in these sectors, which means taking big steps in future technological development. In general these technologies are enabling endless application possibilities and will therefore receive € 8 bln to be researched even further, as well as biotechnology and health.

The sector Digital Economy (read: infrastructure of fibre) will receive € 4,5 bln.

For the French SME about € 6,5 bln is being reserved. This investment will be used to enable SME to develop its position in innovative industries. Mentioned are the space and aeronautics sector as well as the automotive, the rail transport and the shipbuilding sector.

The French energy sectors will be granted € 5 bln for further developing of nuclear energy. Main part will be entrusted to Ademe, the agency for energy and environmental issues. Sustainable energy resulted in 2007 alone in € 33 bln of sales, employed 220.000 people and put France in the picture as one of the bigger producers of sustainable energy in Europe.