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“This plan must target the right technological assets to have tangible effects”

Tribune. The President of the Republic presented, on October 12, an investment plan of 30 billion euros in favor of the industries of the future. Ambitious, but necessarily limited, this plan must target the right technological assets to have tangible effects.

Until the last moment, the content of the France 2030 plan will have been kept secret. Announced in July but unveiled only in mid-October, it breaks down an investment effort of 30 billion euros, or 1.3 point of GDP, in 10 objectives. It was unexpected, after a first stimulus package of 100 billion.

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In the “world before”, public money was more scarce, and the priority of deleveraging more pressing. This is to say if, by brutally revealing our fragility, the crisis due to Covid-19 has upset our cardinal benchmarks. More than ever, we are dependent on our trading partners to supply us with basic, vital or strategic products; more than ever, we must react.

This 30 billion oxygen balloon, spread in a still uncertain way between 2022 and 2030, must however be considered at the right scale to associate it with reasonable objectives. The French industry alone invests a little less than 100 billion euros each year. This is already a lot and, however, we know that additional investments will be essential to achieve the double ecological and technological transition of our economy, and that they will be colossal in the light of the current state of public finances.

“Pivot effect”

First example: to honor the national low carbon strategy, there is now a lack of 15 to 18 billion annual investment in favor of the climate (the current effort is estimated at “only” 46 billion per year), knowing that the march will be even higher from 2024. Second example: for France to finally comply with the Lisbon objective of increasing its research and development effort to 3% of GDP (compared to 2.2% today) , it would also be necessary that the State and the companies increase their annual expenditure of R & D respectively by 6 and 13 billion.

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It would therefore be illusory to wait for a public investment plan to assume, on its own and at once, all the weight of these transitions. Fortunately, this effort is part of a landscape that is not virgin: the investment is already there, tangible, and this is precisely what can help the government to steer its financial support in the right direction.

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