In Dunkirk, Emmanuel Macron wants to show a France that is doing well


Emmanuel Macron during his visit to the Aluminum Dunkerque factory, in Loon-Plage (Nord), May 12, 2023.

Selfies instead of pans. A persistent drizzle and an icy wind had swept the Aluminum Dunkirk site, Friday, May 12, the weather was fine for Emmanuel Macron. Avoiding the city center, under heavy police surveillance and where 200 to 300 demonstrators were waiting for him, the head of state treated himself to an afternoon of congratulations and good news. Came to Hauts-de-France with no less than five members of his government – ​​including the Minister of the Economy, Bruno Le Maire, and that of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, former mayor of Tourcoing (Nord) – to boast his “green” reindustrialization strategy, Mr. Macron spent more than an hour talking, all smiles, with the staff of some fifteen companies in the agglomeration.

In the gigantic foundry of the leading European aluminum producer, the President of the Republic rented “an emblematic site for the acceleration of green reindustrialisation, which consumes and emits a lot of CO2and is committed to a process of decarbonization and innovation”. Aluminum Dunkerque is one of the 50 sites with the highest greenhouse gas emissions, whose leaders were received at the Elysée Palace in November 2022.

“We’re putting the turbo back on: the Dunkirk basin has lost 6,000 industrial jobs in twenty years, we’re going to recreate 16,000 by 2030. We’re doing more than repairing (…) the stall of the 2000s »hammered Emmanuel Macron, in a city where the unemployment rate is close to 9% (against 7% at the national level) and where Marine Le Pen came first in the presidential election of 2022.

“Industrial reconquest”

The day after the presentation, at the Elysée Palace, of the “green industry” bill, and before the Choose France summit, which is to bring together international bosses in Versailles on Monday, Emmanuel Macron had above all come to formalize the establishment in Dunkirk of the gigafactory (giant factory) of a Taiwanese producer of batteries for electric cars, ProLogium. This investment of 5.2 billion euros should ultimately create 3,000 jobs.

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Enough to make ProLogium the symbol of the “industrial reconquest” of a still devastated basin – less than 10 kilometers away, Valdunes, supplier of wheels for the railway industry, was let go a week ago by its shareholder Chinese. Emmanuel Macron also announced a joint venture of 1.5 billion euros between the Chinese XTC and the French Orano (ex-Areva), in order to produce materials for lithium batteries. At the end of the day, 1,700 jobs.

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