Macron big on state interventionism in plans to restart France – POLITICO

PARIS – Seen as a safe bet in times of uncertainty, Emmanuel Macron offered French voters the comforting promise of predictability as he unveiled his re-election campaign platform in Paris. .

Macron has made the case that recent crises have exposed “holes” and that France needs investment and large doses of state interventionism to ensure its future independence. after the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine.

The French president detailed his entire campaign platform on Thursday in a comprehensive nearly four-hour speech and Q&A session after weeks of criticism from opponents that he was trying to evade the presidential campaign.

With the war in Ukraine overshadowing the campaign and forcing Macron’s opponents to watch from the sidelines, the president played with the sense of insecurity brought about by the conflict and hinted at greater state involvement in the conflict. economy on a comprehensive basis, from industry, agriculture to scientific research.

Often seen as a liberal and market-friendly leader, Macron has not hesitated to speak of the need for economic “planning”.

“My belief that France should be a more independent country has grown during a pandemic that shows our vulnerability and our dependence,” he told an audience of reporters. . “War reminds us of this in the energy and raw materials sectors.”

“Independence is not about cutting ourselves off from others…but there are things we cannot delegate,” he said.

Macron alluded to greater state involvement in French energy companies and pledged he would invest in areas important to ensuring France’s future independence if he is re-elected.

“I am not afraid to say that I want to plan for energy production and launch new industrial areas,” he said.

A favorite in the run-up to the presidential election in April, Macron has widened the gap with his rivals as he ramped up diplomatic efforts to avert the war in Ukraine. According to the POLITICO opinion poll, Macron will win 30% of the vote, ahead of far-right leader Marine Le Pen with 18% and far-left candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon with 12%.

Hinting at the risk of voting for his untested far-right opponents in the current circumstances, Macron said: “Faced with the unpredictable, you have a pretty good idea of ​​how I should act.” trial.”

Macron’s push for more economic sovereignty is not new, but it has given new impetus with the recent crisis and now, with the elections approaching, the call to attract industrial Paris’s homegrown industry has ramped up amid supply chain disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic and, more recently, by the war in Ukraine.

Macron’s call for more industrial investment is gaining consensus in Brussels as well as in European capitals, as demonstrated by the conclusions of EU leaders at a summit in Versailles last week, even as some member states fear that French interventionism is just a way to cover. local industry from global competition.

“Everybody agrees that we must take a serious look at our dependence on certain countries, and Ukraine has made that clearer … but the French interpretation is one the more correct approach, which is to build new walls,” a diplomat from the economic more liberal EU country previously told POLITICO.

Macron said he “[took] responsible for major state investments” in areas such as space launchpads, biotechnology, nuclear, cloud technology and artificial intelligence – all areas already subsidized in a 30 billion euro plan called France 2030 that he presented last October.

Invest in French Independence

The presidential candidate pledged to build a 100% French supply chain over the next five years for electric cars, offshore wind farms and solar panels.

Macron called for an “industrial strategy, which means 100% implementation of the French supply chain,” and said he would invest 50 billion euros a year, thanks to savings from pensions and benefits. benefits, reforms and cuts in government. cost.

Macron’s push for greater interventionism has met with success in the energy sector. He stressed that the government must “regain control over some aspects of the energy chain, by regulating energy prices but also by controlling some energy companies.

“We will have to take over capital controls of several industrial companies while drafting our proposals in the energy sector,” he said.

Asked if he was referring to the EDF, Macron said the state should “recover capital” in companies with a public service mandate and said such a move would be in line with a reform of the government. EDF. However, the French Government has been discussing plans to reform the EDF with Brussels for months and these plans do not include further nationalization.

Defeat the opponent

In an effort to reinvest in French companies, Macron faces two far-right candidates, Le Pen and Eric Zemmour, who accuse Macron of failing to protect France from the winds of globalization that have wiped out French industries.

“Our societies have become more and more technical… and decisions have been transferred to structures that are independent of our citizens,” he said, seemingly echoing commonly held views. of the far right on Brussels and the EU.

Both Le Pen and Zemmour are determined to reduce trade relations with the rest of the world and stem the tide of deindustrialization with new public investments, tax cuts and more barriers to their advantage. French firms relative to foreign competitors, for example in public procurement.

Without naming his opponents, Macron warned against “projects based on retreat from war, which appeal to a kind of nostalgia, sometimes something that never existed,” and makes the case that his proposals will help protect France against future crises.

Macron has bucked the trend of recent public debates in France, which have been dominated by immigration and security, topics he rarely addressed during his few hours on stage.

Barbara Moens contributed reporting. Macron big on state interventionism in plans to restart France - POLITICO

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