In 1960, the production of steel, shoes, and automobiles accounted for about one-third of French GDP. In 2023, manufacturing accounts for barely 10% of France’s GDP. In recent decades, industrial production in all major western economies has plummeted as we have resorted to cheaper imports from the Far East. Factory production has decreased more in France than in most other countries. In Germany, industry still contributes over 25% of GDP.

Billionaires’ influence on French media

First, the positive update. After nearly six decades of decline, France has resumed production of several goods in the last six years. The GDP’s industrial sector is gradually growing. Every year, the number of new factories has just about surpassed the number of closures. And now for the really great news. This year, France anticipates record foreign investment of €13 billion. Over 50% of the funds will be allocated to the industrial sector, encompassing two big automotive battery facilities in Dunkirk that were recently revealed by President Emmanuel Macron. Finally, two unfavorable announcements. 

Thus far, the new industrial investment in France is creating a rather small number of jobs per billion euros. The massive imbalance in manufactured products, along with the high cost of energy imports, contributed to the nation’s €163 billion trade deficit last year. The government published its proposed “green industry” regulation this past week. The intention is to rehabilitate French industry rather than further damage it throughout the shift to a climate-friendly economy. The reasoning makes sense. The mass automobile, chemical, steel, and textile industries of the past are not likely to come again.

Political risks in French TV licensing review

France was one of the first nations to embrace the industrial revolution in the early 19th century, after Britain and Belgium; nevertheless, it was mostly excluded from the information technology revolution that occurred in the previous two decades. France has to be in the forefront of the new, “carbon free” industrial and economic revolution of the twenty-first century if it is to maintain its wealth. According to the administration, it wants to raise the manufacturing sector’s GDP share from 10% to 15%. When? It provides no timeline. 

A clear query comes up. Why has France during the past six or seven years become a desirable destination for international investors? For the first time in decades, why are factories expanding more often than closing down? Not very long ago, American businesses in particular refused to make investments in a nation known for its union militancy, 35-hour workweek, and unending lunch breaks.  Moreover, hiring a French person was far more expensive than hiring a German or a British person due to hefty payroll taxes (which were used to pay for pensions and other social benefits). Because of the complexity of French employment law, it was challenging to use temporary labor or terminate someone with a long-term contract.

French media landscape facing major changes

These things have evolved gradually over the past 10 years, beginning cautiously under President Nicolas Sarkozy. Payroll taxes have decreased and employment legislation has been made simpler. To the ire of many on the Left, that process proceeded under President François Hollande (during the time when Emmanuel Macron served as his finance minister). Under President Macron, the reforms have quickened. It might be argued that business has reaped some benefits and has not completely participated in the game. It’s also true that hiring labor in France continues to be more expensive than in many other EU nations.

Impact of wealthy owners on French Journalism

Still, during the past six years, unemployment has decreased from about 9 percent to 7.1 percent (or, as the OECD puts it, 6.9 percent). France has emerged as the EU’s most alluring destination for foreign investors in terms of monetary investment, although not employment creation as of yet. Investment in the so-called industries of the future, such as new batteries, heat pumps, wind, and solar power, will be eligible for grants and tax cuts totaling €7 billion. There will be new training programs for technicians and engineers, and the normal approval time for a new plant will be shortened from 17 months to nine months.

Future of French media: Power and politics

Crucially, state assistance policies for “ecologically” friendly items, like electric automobiles, will also change. This will make sure that French retail subsidies are withheld from foreign producers (like Chinese automakers) unless they comply with EU environmental laws. The green industry law might be criticized for being somewhat unambiguous and ambiguous. Nevertheless, it represents a positive first step in reestablishing France’s economy as balanced as possible, one that is better equipped to produce salaries above the minimum and less reliant on services, luxury products, and tourism.