Emmanuel Macron to meet with Elon Musk to discuss EV future at business summit in France

French President Emmanuel Macron at the Aluminium Dunkerque factory in Dunkirk, France, May 12, 2023, and Tesla CEO Elon Musk in Robstown, Texas, May 8, 2023.
French President Emmanuel Macron at the Aluminium Dunkerque factory in Dunkirk, France, May 12, 2023, and Tesla CEO Elon Musk in Robstown, Texas, May 8, 2023.   -  Copyright  Pascal Rossignol/Pool Photo via AP/Angela Piazza/Corpus Christi Caller-Times via AP
By Euronews  with AFP & AP

Emmanuel Macron and Tesla CEO Elon Musk will talk about the "attractiveness of France and its industries," the president’s office said.

French president Emmanuel Macron will meet billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk on Monday on the sidelines of a business conference outside Paris on Monday, the Elysee Palace said, confirming earlier media reports.

The pair will discuss "the attractiveness of France and its industries," the French president’s office said.

In the afternoon, Macron will meet with more than 200 major multinational bosses in Versailles for the sixth edition of the "Choose France" summit, which aims to boost international investment in the country. 

A record €13 billion of investment has already been announced.

Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire, who is due to have lunch with the Tesla CEO, told BFM TV that the talks would cover several topics, including electric cars.

"All the investments that are being made today are the result of months, even years of negotiations," Le Maire said.

Last week, France was chosen by Taiwanese company ProLogium for its first overseas car battery plant, beating competition from Germany and the Netherlands.

Macron has also announced a series of measures to support innovative industries and transition towards greener technology. They include tax credits in fields like battery production, electric cars, hydrogen, and wind power, as well as accelerating authorisations for industrial projects.

"France is changing, is getting adapted to the course of the world and I believe that we're following the right path, which is to reindustrialise the country, to be more sovereign and more respectful of the climate and biodiversity," Macron said on Friday during a visit to Dunkirk, in northern France.

Discussing EV production

Macron and Musk had already met in December in New Orleans during the French president's visit to the United States.

They had, according to the latter, "a clear and sincere discussion" and exchanged on "future green industrial projects such as the production of electric vehicles and batteries".

Regarding Twitter, which Musk took over in October last year, Macron said that the social platform should "make an effort to comply with European regulations" in terms of "transparent terms of use," "significant strengthening of content moderation" and "protection of freedom of expression".

Since he bought Twitter, the US billionaire has slashed Twitter’s headcount and many advertisers have deserted the platform following a shake-up of its account verification system.

Musk announced a new CEO for the platform on Friday. Linda Yaccarino, a longtime advertising executive at NBCUniversal, will face the challenge of trying to woo back advertisers that fled Twitter since Musk’s takeover.

The meeting comes after months of protests against Macron's decision to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64. The unpopularity of the reform has weakened his government at parliament and hampered his economic strategy.

Since he took office in 2017, Macron has cut business taxes, made it easier to hire and fire workers, and made it more difficult for the unemployed to claim benefits, amid other pro-business policies.

For a fourth consecutive year, France was the European country that had attracted the greatest number of foreign investments, Macron said, citing a survey by EY last week.

France’s unemployment rate in March reached its lowest level since 2001, at 6.9 per cent - down from about 10 per cent when Macron was elected - according to OECD data. Still, the proportion of jobless people in France is higher than the average in the European Union, which is stable at 6 per cent.

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