Industrial promotion remains a top priority for Emmanuel Macron. After the French president's popularity ratings plummeted in the dispute over pension reform, he is now trying to score points with economic policy successes, among other things. It is no coincidence that he focuses on the labor market and the country's desired reindustrialization – domains on which Macron has been spending a lot of energy for years and where, according to the government, the fruits of the reform work can now be successively reaped.

Niklas Záboji

Business correspondent in Paris

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More than 1.7 million new jobs have been created since 2017, including 90,000 in the manufacturing sector, the Elysée Palace calculated on Thursday at an event entitled "Accelerating our reindustrialization". After decades of decline in industry – its share of economic output in France is just under 10 percent, only half as high as in Germany – a trend reversal has begun. Almost 300 new factories have been built across the country under Macron's aegis.

In his speech on Thursday to around 400 invited company representatives, the president invoked the strategic importance of this sector of the economy – to immunize against geopolitical tensions or crises such as pandemics, to protect the climate and biodiversity, because otherwise one might import less environmentally friendly products, and to promote the economy throughout the country, because reindustrialization "is the key to creating good jobs and thus prospects for the middle class".

Call for a "regulatory pause"

Macron wants to follow up his words with a draft for a "green industry law" announced for next week. It is intended to complement the recently launched "France 2030" investment program, and according to Macron, it is explicitly about "compete" with the US Inflation Reduction Act subsidy program through the use of the instruments approved by Brussels.

Among other things, tax credits for "green" technologies such as batteries, heat pumps and solar modules are planned. More than 20 billion euros in investments are expected to be launched by the end of this decade. Macron also wants to halve the deadline for the approval of new factories from 18 to nine months, in particular through the parallel process of environmental impact assessment and public consultation.

His call for a "regulatory pause" is a topic of conversation. According to Macron, Europe is much further ahead than any other economic power in the world with its decarbonisation targets or requirements for the use of pesticides, and now it needs "stability" – otherwise there is a risk "that we will be the best in terms of regulations and the worst in terms of financing".

However, his announcement that state subsidies for electric car sales will in future be linked to criteria such as a low CO2 footprint or the use of recycled materials in vehicle production also makes people sit up and take notice. In this way, the environmental bonus, which is up to 7000 euros in France, could no longer apply to the purchase of US and Asian cars. They want to "support batteries and vehicles that are produced in Europe because their CO2 footprint is good," Macron said.