The French state is to raise 35 billion euros to fund strategic investments.
President Nicolas Sarkozy said the priority for spending the money would be higher education and scientific research.
Shrugging off criticism that France is taking on too much debt, Sarkozy said the money is needed to take steps to boost the economy.
He told a gathering of dignitaries: “We’ve constantly ignored investment. It is a fault. The private sector can’t do everything. France must acquire the means to have the best universities in the world, because with the best universities in the world we can start to win the competitivity war.”
Eleven billion euros has been earmarked for higher education.
Of the total, some 22 billion euros of the so-called “big loan” will be raised on the financial markets and 13 billion euros will come from banks reimbursing recent state aid.
Sarkozy said too often there had been “walls between research and the economy.”
He wants to fund and develop research teams to boost competitiveness and increase efforts in biotechnology and nanotechnology.
Five billion will go to sustainable development including nuclear power plants.
More efficient transportation is also on Sarkozy’s list, including better trains and planes.
The French president said this is not a new stimulus package but an investment that will have consequences for 20 or 30 years.