France infra spending leads the way says minister(4)

France’s minister for economic recovery has said the country is leading the pack in spending its way out of recession through plans including a €10bn infrastructure package.

The French economy is leading the way in Europe in the implementation of its economic recovery plan, France’s minister for economic recovery told the Financial Times at the weekend.

In the interview, Patrick Devedijan said that France is four months ahead of other European countries owing to its centralised governmental system which allows the quicker mobilisation of financial resources.

Devedijan is responsible for overseeing the implementation of French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s €26 billion fiscal stimulus package, unveiled in December. He is quoted as saying that 75 percent of the funding is to be invested before the end of the year, adding that projects which fail to use their allocated funding in time will have it withdrawn. Over €10 billion of the stimulus plan has been dedicated to schemes in the infrastructure and energy sectors.

According to Devedijan, France will be able to avoid the time-lags between project conception and completion inherent in infrastructure schemes by specifically selecting those that have already been planned and can be launched without delay.

One of the largest French infrastructure projects currently in procurement is the €1.2 billion Nimes-Montpellier TGV link, for which three bidders were shortlisted earlier this month. It is one of four rail projects which has been identified by Sarkozy as part of the stimulus package.