Presidential elections in 2022: Emmanuel Macron wants to strengthen digital technologies in France

Le Monde Informatique offers a series of articles on the upcoming presidential elections on 10 and 24 April 2022. Every week we will analyze the candidates’ proposals related to the digital industry in France. Today we will sum up the five-year stay of Emmanuel Macron in power and focus on his proposals in case of re-election.

Outgoing President and candidate for re-election Emmanuel Macron wants to “massify” what he has already undertaken to develop during his five-year term. In 2017, he promised to “fix 4G everywhere at a good level” to make the entire territory of the country available, which can be useful in areas where optical fiber cannot be installed in the short term. During the Viva Technology exhibition in 2017, the candidate announced that he had received a French technical visa for a period of 4 years, designed to simplify the administrative procedures for talents wishing to work in France. At the time, he wanted to encourage the breeding of unicorns and French giants in technological and digital matters. We also remember his announcement of a €10 billion innovation support fund with which Bpifrance is linked. To go further, Emmanuel Macron also opened the Station F startup incubator in Paris at the end of June 2017. President shortly after his election.

Today, five years later, the incumbent wishes to re-serve for a second five-year term and promises to “consolidate what has been done in the last five years,” as the current Secretary of State for Digital Technology, Cedric O, explained. and the market, the latter announced that Emmanuel Macron wants to continue this growth, push more for IPOs of companies and model the unicorn tax scheme in the United Kingdom. Seeking to “ensure technological autonomy by investing in the development of its champions”, Emmanuel Macron wants to elevate France to the rank of a strategic player, along with the US or China, “protecting itself in the most strategic areas by acquiring basic infrastructures such as the cloud and a constellation of satellites “.

Train everyone

In terms of talent, the candidate wants to “massage very early, from 5as well as where all high school students will receive weekly mandatory coding and digital training. The goal is ambitious: over the next five years, train 400,000 to 500,000 digital experts, in particular developers and IT specialists. Returning to their 2017 flagship measures, the candidate announces that a “digital pass” has been created for training, giving access to 10 or 20 hours of training. “2 million passes have already been funded to support 400,000 people. 5 million euros have been allocated by Banque des Territoires to set up Connected France centers to help the territories digitally educate their residents,” he clarifies.

The digitalization of businesses has also moved forward: in 2017, only 4,600 businesses (online sales, management, etc.) were digitized, while 112,000 very small businesses (TPEs) received a €500 check to start their digital transformation. In this sense, the France Num initiative and the VSE digitization plan were launched. The European Investment Bank, Bpifrance and the state have also called on partner banks to provide loans worth 1 billion euros for digitization projects.

Startup Nation Takes Off

In 2019, Emmanuel Macron set a goal of creating 25 unicorns (companies worth more than $1 billion or about €820 million) in 2025. The goal was reached three years ahead, in January 2022. The technology did raise €11.57bn, which equates to 784 transactions. It was Exotec, a startup specializing in logistics and the development of autonomous robots, that made it possible to cross move 25 french unicorns.

Wanting to continue the effort, the current President of the Republic then announced new targets for the French ecosystem, namely “10 tech giants by 2030 at the European level” under the “Choose France” plan. The state took advantage of this enthusiasm to announce other support plans, especially for the industrial sector. We also note that the French Recovery Plan 2025 has mobilized €735 million for industrial use of 5G to boost the competitiveness of companies and the French economy.

Fighting the Digital Divide

While the digital divide is still a driver of inequality in France today, the candidate wants to continue the efforts made since 2017. In his report, Emmanuel Macron recalls that “4G is now deployed in 85% of the territory, covering 99% of the population. This year, 100% of the population will have access to high-quality 4G. In 2017, only 22% of homes were covered with fiber. Today (in March 2022) it is 67%, and by the end of the year there will be more than 80% of the territory.” In fact, digital coverage of the territory with fiber should be completed by 2025.

In addition, he notes that 91% of the 250 most requested government services are now available online. More than 2,000 Maisons France services offer a personalized local welcome to help citizens complete their administrative procedures, online or not. Thus, the candidate announces that he will increase the number of advisers and service offices of France throughout the territory, without giving, however, an exact figure on this point.

Innovation in Public Policy

The Flag Bearer of the Republic on the Move (LREM) also wants to deepen the digital single market and the ability to leverage innovation in public policy. Taking a cue from health, he pledges to develop the contribution of digital technologies to this area, however, without specifying what projects or investments are expected. Citing the health crisis as a factor in the “impressive development of digital health technologies”, he is promoting the development of telemedicine or the development of the TousAntiCovid app, “which has been downloaded more than 50 million times”.

Among his health measures, we also note that he wants to move the production of medicines to France and continue the development of 20 biomedical drugs and biotechnologies (anti-cancer in particular) as well as new technologies such as exoskeletons.

Online accountability

Emmanuel Macron knows that cybersecurity has become a concern for everyone, both individuals and companies. The latter advocates strengthening the protection of the French on the net, bringing its results to the doubling of the staff of the Pharos platform reporting illegal content on the net, and the creation of a national center to combat hate on the net, which takes on the appearance of a digital parquet. He also wants to increase the staff of Anssi and the cybergendarmerie. In fact, he announces the upcoming recruitment of 1500 cyber patrols and the establishment of a number to constantly turn to for advice and support. An anti-fraud filter will also be configured that will alert all Internet users in real time before they go to a potentially dangerous site.

At the same time, he intends to introduce a fairer tax and regulatory framework for digital giants without forcing them to shut down their services. A global minimum tax of 15% has already been introduced and, under the French Presidency of the European Union, the candidate committed to adopt the Digital Services Act (DSA) aimed at empowering digital service intermediaries and the Digital Markets Act (DMA) aimed at providing greater competition in the digital economy. He also announces that digital giants must now negotiate and pay publishers or media outlets to use their content.

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