Macron at Davos: A strategic economic blueprint for France's and Europe's future

Emmanuel Macron delivers his speech at the Annual Meeting of World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2024.
Emmanuel Macron delivers his speech at the Annual Meeting of World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2024. Copyright Markus Schreiber/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved
By Piero Cingari
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"Our continent has a lot of savings, but these savings are not circulating towards the right places, towards the right sectors. We can move forward, all 27 of us," Macron said in a speech at the WEF in Davos.

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French President Emmanuel Macron presented a comprehensive vision for the future of France and Europe at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos on Wednesday, emphasising economic reforms, environmental sustainability, and the strengthening of European sovereignty.

Euronews Business gives a rundown of his headline points.

Tax reforms and green investments

Macron opened his address by highlighting significant tax reforms in France, including a notable €60 billion reduction and a drop in corporate tax from 33.3% to 25%.

He underlined the introduction of green credits to attract green tech companies, demonstrating his dual commitment to economic growth and environmental sustainability.

Macron stressed the need for more investment in various sectors, stating, "Quantum, clean, green tech or even the defence sector requires much more money. We need an investment strategy with two drivers."

Deepening financial integration and enhancing public investment

A key part of Macron's strategy involves deepening the union of Europe's capital markets to ensure more integrated financial systems across the continent.

He advocated for more European public investment, suggesting the possibility of Eurobonds focused on priority areas.

Macron observed, "Our continent has a lot of savings, but these savings are not circulating towards the right places, towards the right sectors. We can move forward, all 27 of us, we should."

Ambitious environmental goals and carbon neutrality

Macron emphasised Europe's unique position in accepting carbon neutrality and called for a more ambitious environmental agenda rooted in investment and innovation.

"If we want a sustainability agenda, we must invest more. More in climate, more in AI we must," he said. "Conduct more reforms, but we must also change our own model by creating more jobs in Europe, better-paid jobs, essentially."

Towards a sovereign Europe: Emphasising self-reliance

Macron's vision for a more sovereign Europe includes ensuring European production in key technology sectors and critical parts of the value chain, from chips to agriculture, and from renewable energy to nuclear power.

"A more sovereign Europe means that we have to be sure that we have European production of brain sovereign intelligence, I would say. Key technologies and critical parts of the value chain, from chips to agriculture to energy, meaning renewables and nuclear," he asserted.

He described the European Union as a project "not being dependent on big powers and not a project of hegemony, but balance, equilibrium and respect".

France's environmental achievements and nuclear strategy

Macron detailed efforts to decarbonise France's energy supply, saying, "We also conducted reforms to decarbonise our energy with an environmental plan in which we've engaged all sectors." 

He proudly referred to France’s alignment with the Paris Accord objectives, showcasing a commitment to reducing emissions and enhancing sustainability.

"Six years ago when I was in front of you, we reduced by 1% per year our CO2 emissions. Two years later, we started to reduce by 2% per year. We did it for four years. Last year we reduced by 4.6%. So it's working," Macron said.

He noted that 70% of France's electricity is based on nuclear energy and announced plans for new nuclear reactors, "We already announced six new reactors and I will announce by June eight new reactors."

Looking ahead: Critical decisions for Europe loom

Macron concluded with a forward-looking statement about the critical decisions facing Europe in the coming years, emphasising the importance of unity, investment, and innovation in sectors like AI, space, quantum, chip, and defence.

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He posited that these are the pillars of a sovereign approach, and if Europe can be united and invest significantly in these sectors, it can achieve its ambitious goals.

Macron underscored the importance of European unity and sovereignty, particularly in light of recent global challenges. He cited the EU's collective response to the COVID crisis and the war in Ukraine as examples of Europe's strength when united.

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