French President Emmanuel Macron wants more French independence in the fight against the coronavirus, for example in the production of medical masks.
“We have to produce more on our own soil to reduce our dependency,” Macron said after visiting mask maker Kolmi-Hopen in Saint-Barthelemy-d’Anjou near Angers in north-western France on Tuesday.
He said that by the end of the year, France should have achieved its full independence in mask production.
“By the end of April, we will have the capacity to produce 15 million masks a week in France,” Macron said.
France recently ordered 1 billion masks, some from China.
Macron said that he was committed to rebuilding French and European sovereignty.
He also announced that a consortium of four large industrial groups plans to manufacture 10,000 ventilators by mid-May.
This consortium consists of: electrical specialist Schneider Electric; automotive supplier Valeo; and Opel parent PSA.
It will operate under the leadership of Air Liquide, a French manufacturer of industrial gases.
The French state also plans to make 4 billion euros (4.4 billion dollars) available to the national health authority for ordering masks, medicines and respirators.
“We have to fight the virus with the nurses at the front,” said Macron.
It is an “invisible enemy,” he said, adding that he believed in a “united France”.
Reforms had been adopted before the crisis, which would allow France to be more competitive, he said, adding: “But we have to regain moral strength and the will to produce more in France.” (dpa/NAN)