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French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday rolled out a 30 billion euro investment plan designed to make France a global innovation leader in areas such as green industry, digital and bio technology, health and space.
Unveiled at the Elysée Palace in front of an audience of students and business leaders, the long-term roadmap, dubbed "France 2030", aims to “reindustrialise” the country.
Speaking six months ahead of presidential elections, Macron said France would become a leader in green hydrogen by 2030, announcing "massive investments" for industrial decarbonisation through nuclear power and renewable energy.
One billion euros is to be thrown into nuclear power: “We need to develop small, innovative nuclear reactors in France by 2030, with better waste management," Macron said.
"We are ready to invest a billion euros in this by 2030, starting very quickly with very clear initial projects."
France has been lobbying the European Commission to include nuclear energy in its green taxonomy, a gold standard list of sustainable energy sources that may benefit from green finance.
The scheme steers private capital out of polluting economic activities and is essential to making Macron’s 2030 plan a success – especially given that nuclear power generates more than 70 percent of France's electricity needs.
Also on the cards for Macron’s 2030 vision were plans to produce some 2 million electric and hybrid vehicles.
"The last 30 years have been cruel for the French car industry," Macron said, adding that achieving this goal would require effective cooperation between major manufacturers.
Elsewhere steel production, cement and the chemical sector, as well as truck, bus, rail and air transport were also singled out as important areas of investment.
Macron argued the 2030 strategy was urgently needed to make up for a deficit of 15-20 years that had left France lagging behind its European neighbours in many areas of innovation and research.