France’s industrial policy and future of the space sector
Future of the space industry
“France’s space ambition is a strategic priority (…) Guaranteed autonomous access to space is non-negotiable.”
On Tuesday, 14 December 2010, President Sarkozy went to the French department of Eure to pay a field visit devoted to French industry and more particularly the future of the space sector. During this visit, the President reaffirmed that space was a strategic sector bringing growth and jobs. He drew attention to France’s active role in building the European aerospace industry and to the competitiveness of French industry globally (40% of the commercial communication satellites market and 50% of the accessible market for launchers).
President Sarkozy recalled France and Europe’s desire to have autonomous access to space, a cornerstone of our space policy. To continue guaranteeing this autonomous access, the President said that France would support the Ariane 5 Midlife Evolution Programme and the start of initial work on Ariane 5’s successor launcher.
A Memorandum of Understanding allocating €82.5 million to carrying out preparatory work linked to the post-Ariane-5 next-generation launcher has been signed. This is the first tranche of a €250 million programme financed by the “big loan”. CNES [Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales – French Space Agency] is the contracting authority for this work, which will be entrusted to space industry manufacturers. Thanks to this investment and work, France will contribute effectively to preparation of the future European launchers and support the excellence of the French players in this sector. This programme highlights the support for the strategic industrial sectors provided by the “big loan” which is preparing the future of French industry.
At a round table, the President also talked to players from the world of innovation and industrial research (leaders of innovative SMEs, a laboratory director and a PhD student). He recalled the significant effort pledged to support innovation, particularly by means of the crédit d’impôt recherche [R&D tax credit], the structure-forming nature of competitive clusters and the dynamism brought by the reform of higher education and research. He stressed the major challenge of human resource renewal in the scientific and technical fields and the need to make them more attractive.
An industrial ambition for France
“We’re going to help our networks of excellence prepare for the future in the aviation, space and automotive sectors but also in railways and shipbuilding.”
A year ago to the day, on 14 December 2009, President Sarkozy set out the priorities of the future investment programme. The aim: to prepare for the future by investing massively in sectors that bring growth and employment.
Industry was among the five national priorities identified by the President. The aim: to encourage innovation and boost the productivity and competitiveness of French industry and SMEs, by financing projects which target the automotive, electric vehicles, aviation, space, shipbuilding and railway sectors.
Believing in the essential role of industry for France, the President chose to set French economic policy on a foundation of strong and determined support for industry in all spheres. The aim is clear: to preserve industrial capability and business expertise in France. The President’s declared ambition is successfully to cross the threshold of a new industrial revolution./.