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Posted: December 14, 2009
France to invest billions in nanotechnology
(Nanowerk News) The French government will invest 35 billion euros (51.3 billion dollars) to make France more competitive and better prepared for the future, President Nicolas Sarkozy said Monday. Nearly one-third of that amount, 11 billion euros, will be invested in higher education.
"We want to have the best universities in the world, because with the best universities in the world we will win the battle of competitiveness," Sarkozy said during a press conference at the Elysee Palace.
It was Sarkozy's first press conference not connected with a state visit or major international event, such as the financial crisis, since January 8, 2008.
Another 8 billion euros are to be invested in research, including in such cutting-edge fields as biotechnology and nanotechnology. Nearly half of that amount, or 3.5 billion euros, will be dedicated to the practical application of that research, Sarkozy said.
Another 6.5 billion euros has been earmarked for French industry and small and medium-size businesses, particularly in the automobile, aeronautic, railway and marine industrial sectors.
"Our competitiveness has eroded," Sarkozy said. "The share of French exports in the euro zone has dropped by 20 per cent in the past 10 years. We have lost market share to our European neighbours."
Sarkozy said 5 billion euros will be used for sustainable development, with 1 billion euros reserved for the development of fourth-generation nuclear reactors "which will recycle uranium and plutonium and produce less waste."
Finally, 4.5 billion euros are to be used for the "digital economy," the French president said. This will include making high-speed internet available throughout the country and to create a digital library of the contents of France's museums, libraries and cinema archives.
Of the 35 billion euros required for the total project, 22 billion euros will be raised through low-interest loans in financial markets. The remaining 13 billion euros consists of recently repaid state aid French banks received during the financial crisis.
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