Emmanuel Macron formalizes the establishment of a Taiwanese ProLogium super battery factory in Dunkirk


Emmanuel Macron visits the Aluminum Dunkerque factory, in Dunkirk, the city chosen by the Taiwanese company ProLogium to build a gigafactory of batteries, in the north of France, on May 12, 2023.

Visiting Dunkirk, a northern city erected by the Elysée in ” symbol “ of his reindustrialization policy geared towards ecological transition, Emmanuel Macron confirmed, on Friday May 12, the establishment of ProLogium, which will make it possible to create a “huge battery factory and 3,000 jobs” in Dunkirk. An investment of 5.2 billion euros.

He spoke in the afternoon on the Aluminum Dunkerque site, and also announced that the Chinese company XTC, a specialist in lithium electric battery precursors, was going to open a factory in Dunkirk in the framework of a joint venture with the French Orano, an investment of 1.5 billion euros ” for 1,700 jobs”, in addition to the 5.2 billion euros of ProLogium.

These two announcements, said the president, add to the 16,000 jobs we already had, almost 5,000 more. Which means that before the end of the decade, there will be 20,000 new industrial jobs in the Dunkirk employment area. » During his speech, Mr. Macron insisted on ” slowness “ from France, “If we want to continue and succeed in attracting other ProLogiums, we will have to go faster and stronger. “What Dunkirk demonstrates is that we can reindustrialise the country”, he added.

As with each trip, the Head of State was awaited by demonstrators equipped with pans opposed to his pension reform, kept at a distance by an imposing security device, even as he tries to turn the page on this crisis by reinvesting the economic field. A first gathering of a hundred people was created in the morning around 11 a.m. in front of the sub-prefecture of Dunkirk.

Dunkirk “barricaded like never before”

Around 3 p.m., they were between 200 and 300 to have gathered at Place Jean-Bart, in the city center. Among them, according to The Voice of the North, employees of the Valdunes factory, threatened with closure. The local media also claims that the police force planned on the spot was unprecedented, qualifying the city as “barricaded like never before”. As the presidential motorcade entered the Aluminum Dunkerque site, more than 20 kilometers away, the demonstrators banged on pots and lids, around a “turn everything upside down” made of tin cans covered with drawings of ministers and the President of the Republic. At least one man was arrested while trying to force a roadblock, noted Agence France-Presse. Demonstrators challenged the police, chanting “We too are going to go through in force! ».

The president planned to reach the headquarters of the Urban Community of Dunkirk (CUD) at the end of the afternoon, located about 500 meters from the demonstration, in a street whose access is blocked by gates and a cordon of police.

Accelerating industry awakening

Thursday, Emmanuel Macron explained at length his policy carried out since 2017, ensuring that it had begun to bear fruit, and promised to work hard to reindustrialize the country. Objective: to hope to keep up with the United States of Joe Biden, which has adopted a colossal plan of public aid to its industry in favor of the energy transition imposed by climate change, and in the face of Chinese competition .

On the front line for Europe to respond to these proactive if not protectionist policies, the President wishes “accelerate” the awakening of French industry while greening it, thanks to measures such as a new tax credit for the production of batteries, wind turbines or solar panels, supposed to generate 20 billion euros of investment by to 2030, and an overhaul of the bonus for the purchase of an electric car so that it indirectly targets the “made in Europe”.

Read also: The Taiwanese company ProLogium chooses Dunkirk to set up its first battery factory in Europe

“Gigafactory” projects in what is becoming the electricity valley in France

Proof of the tough competition in this field, the Swedish group Northvolt almost immediately confirmed the installation of a giant factory of electric batteries in Germany.

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“A real ecosystem for batteries is developing in the north of France”, greeted a vice-president of ProLogium, Gilles Normand, to several press agencies. Three other projects “gigafactorys” are already announced there, gradually transforming this land, long in the process of deindustrialization, into an electricity valley in France.

This investment, which Mr. Macron made official on the spot, is part of a larger package which will be unveiled on the occasion of the sixth edition, Monday in Versailles, of the Choose France summit, launched by the president in 2018 to attract projects. strangers. The Elysée has already announced a “record edition”.

Projects attracted since 2017 by Dunkirk “will allow the creation or maintenance of approximately 16,000 jobs over ten years, while the city has lost nearly 6,000 industrial jobs in twenty years”argues the executive.

But not far from there, Valdunes, the last manufacturer in France of train wheels, was let go last week by its Chinese shareholder. Its two French sites, located in Leffrinckoucke and Trith-Saint-Léger, also in the North, employ 336 people. The CGT de Valdunes said it had asked Mr. Macron for a meeting during his trip, with no return at this stage.

“Inconceivable that the president travels to Dunkirk without visiting the threatened site of Valdunes”Communist leader Fabien Roussel tweeted on Tuesday. “There are many companies that come to settle in France and take advantage of the land made available to them, financial aid and when they have made enough profit to distribute to shareholders, they leave”released Valérie Minet, activist of the “yellow vests” of Pas-de-Calais, in the demonstration organized in front of the prefecture of Dunkirk against Emmanuel Macron, by tapping vigorously on a plate.

For Paulo Cabral, secretary of the CFDT in Saint-Omer, “announcing job creations for future years is very good”but retirement at age 64 “still hasn’t passed”.

The World with AFP


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