Sarkozy to announce plans for €35bn national loan
Issued on: Modified:
French President Nicolas Sarkozy is due to unveil plans for a 35-billion-euro "big loan" that will be invested in green technologies and "growth sectors" in a bid to boost the national economy.
French President Nicoals Sarkozy is due Monday to announce plans to invest 35 billion euros from an exceptional “big loan” aimed at boosting key sectors of the economy.
Sarkozy is expected to announce major investment in “green” cities and “growth sectors”.
France hopes to leave its year-long recession far behind with the 35-billion-euro bond, despite calls from some lawmakers for up to 100 billion euros to be raised.
A report released last month by a commission tasked with detailing how much could be borrowed and where the money could be invested called for expanding high-speed Internet and supporting innovative small businesses while giving France's cutting-edge aerospace and nuclear industries their share of the investment funds.
Led by former prime ministers Michel Rocard and Alain Juppe, the commission zeroed in on seven investment priorities, with the lion's share -- 16 billion euros -- to be spent on universities and research, that now rank far behind top American schools in international ratings.
"The Chinese are building planes. If we want to stay in the game, we have to design a plane that consumes the least fuel," said Juppe in an interview with Le Monde in November
"In this changing world, Europe is being marginalised," he said.
The French have shown little enthusiasm for the scheme, with a recent poll revealing that 56 percent consider the loan "useless" compared to 27 percent who said they approved of the measure.
The "big loan" also faces resistance in Brussels, which has asked France to rein in spending and bring its deficit down to 3.0 percent of GDP by 2013.
France's rocketing public deficit is on track to reach 8.5 percent of gross domestic product in 2010.
When Sarkozy announced the loan in June, he said funds could be raised through public subscription. But the commission did not make any specific recommendation about the source of investments.
The money reimbursed by French banks that were bailed out by the government last year -- estimated at 13 billion euros -- is expected to cover part of the cost.
Daily newsletterReceive essential international news every morningSubscribe