In this interview with Cyba Audi from Asharq Business Bloomberg, Christof Rühl, member of the Advisory Board of Crystol Energy and a Senior Fellow at the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University, discussed France’s latest step in unveiling its 2030 investment plan.
Christof questioned the timing of the plan’s launch before the French elections. Usually, governments tend to launch big plans before elections to redirect the attention of critics away from the failures of the government during its mandate. In addition, President Macron is trying to prevent mass protests such as the “Gilets Jaunes” especially during the current energy crisis that France and Europe are suffering from.
He further added that the plan is ambitious and suffers from major structural issues. First, through his plan, Macron is trying to revive the industrial sector, since in the past decade the transformation of the economy to a service-based economy was prevailing. This will present an opportunity cost in case the local production is used to serve local demand at the expense of export revenues.
Second, and with respect to supporting start ups, France has to solve several problems that it is infamous for, such as bureaucracy, high taxes and relatively low wages (all of which are prerequisites to support new businesses). Macron said that he is trying to address these structural issues but the real question is if real investment and opportunities will be created after these changes are made.
Third, Macron claimed that he will support the development of small-scale nuclear reactors. While other EU members, such as Germany, are decommissioning nuclear reactors, it will be a challenge to convince the public that deploying small scale reactors is the right choice. Moreover, the technology of the small scale reactors is pre-mature and overcoming these hurdles is highly unlikely in the next ten years.
Concluding, Christof reiterated that most of the plan’s points are unrealistic and that the purpose of the plan is to gain public support before the french elections.