June 23. 2024. 2:26

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Macron visits Netherlands to push for massive EU investment plan


French President Emmanuel Macron is set to travel to the Netherlands on Tuesday to push for a massive EU investment plan in line with the Commission’s Net-Zero Industry Act alongside political and economic stakeholders.

Days after returning from his China trip, Macron will travel to the Netherlands to meet the royal couple, Prime Minister Mark Rutte, Dutch researchers and entrepreneurs – marking the first state visit of a French president since President Jacques Chirac in 2000.

Macron will be accompanied by eight ministers and business representatives, including the CEOs of Engie and Air France/KLM.

The state visit to Amsterdam and The Hague will be placed under the banner of “European sovereignty in its economic and industrial dimension”, the Élysée said at a press conference before the trip.

In particular, Macron is pushing for creating a massive investment plan at the European level that is in line with the Net-Zero Industry Act proposed by the European Commission in mid-March.

Already at a joint press conference on 30 January in The Hague, Macron and his Dutch counterpart Rutte suggested that the April trip would be an opportunity to discuss subsidies for the EU’s green industry.

In this way, a pact for innovation and sustainable growth should be signed, the Élysée said.

This “will be an opportunity to announce new cooperation in several areas: semiconductors, quantum, energy and other areas”, the Élysée added.

In search of ‘liberal’ allies

On energy, Rutte and Macron are expected to sign a “joint declaration which will contain a specific part on nuclear energy”. On this point, the two countries are “very aligned”, the Elysée said.

Ahead of the visit, Julie Laernoes, an ecologist MP (EELV – NUPES) who will be part of the trip, told EURACTIV France that “Emmanuel Macron [was] looking for very liberal allies”, such as the Netherlands, to advance his nuclear agenda.

The Kingdom is already an “observer” in the French-led “nuclear alliance” to promote nuclear’s credentials at the European level. It also wants to build two nuclear reactors.

Commenting on the European electricity market reform, the Elysée noted that “the positions are coming closer […] as they are with Berlin”, noted the Elysée.

On innovation, Macron will take part in a round table on quantum technology. The EU plans to invest over €7 billion in this latest model.

Macron will also give a speech at the Nexus Cultural Institute. This will be an opportunity to set out his vision of an “economic security doctrine” of great concern to European leaders, including European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, who spoke on this subject last week in China and at the beginning of March in the United States.

(Paul Messad | EURACTIV.fr)