The Debate

France first? Macron's €100 billion recovery plan bets on manufacturing


No Covid vaccine is going to save the planet from the upheaval to our livelihoods. Even if under a best-case scenario there is a roaring recovery, entire industries will never be the same and the digital acceleration of lockdown means many jobs will never return. To soften the blow, most of the West is printing money and putting it in consumers' pockets, like the US which sent out stimulus checks of $1,200 to every taxpayer over the summer.


Now enter France, which on Thursday announced Europe's biggest recovery plan to date – €100 billion – but has decided to buck the trend, offering tax breaks for businesses to go green and bring industry home. Will Emmanuel Macron's "France first" approach work? Will it really revive manufacturing at home or simply line the pockets of shareholders?

And what about that digital transformation? As the economy reels, business has never been better for US tech giants. Where does that leave the whole Gafa tax concept and more broadly, does Macron's plan do enough to address the kind of growing imbalances that led to the Yellow Vest movement and last year's major strikes? 

Produced by Charles Wente, Juliette Laurain and Ariana Mozafari.

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