Natural resources and energy
France has assets of many minerals, but the
quantities are limited. Coal mining has been phased out
and the assets on oil and natural gas are small. For its
energy supply, France is highly dependent on nuclear
The minerals include iron ore, bauxite, uranium, pot
ash, copper and zinc. Extraction occurs, among other
things, of nickel, manganese and uranium, but has no
significant impact on the economy. The formerly
extensive extraction of coal was discontinued in 2004.
Minerals and ores are imported for use in industry. From
2014, the government started a new state mining company
that would mainly extract rare minerals such as lithium
and germanium as well as gold.
Major exports by France with a full list of the top products exported by the country. Includes trade value in U.S. dollars and the percentage for each product category.
A large part of the oil demand and all natural gas
consumption is covered by imports. In order to reduce
oil dependency, France has invested in nuclear power.
More than 50 reactors account for just over three
quarters of electricity generation. The Government aims
to reduce its dependence on nuclear power and during the
period up to 2035, 14 of the oldest reactors will be
The goal is also that renewable energy will account
for a significantly larger share of total energy
consumption up to this point. Environmental work in
France has made progress in the last decade with reduced
greenhouse gas emissions and declining air pollution.
The French government has been recognized
internationally for the role it played in enabling the
countries of the world to reach a new global climate
agreement in Paris in December 2015.
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FACTS - ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT
Energy use per person
3,693 kilos of oil equivalent (2015)
Electricity consumption per person
6944 kilowatt hours, kWh (2014)
Carbon dioxide emissions in total
303 276 thousand tonnes (2014)
Carbon dioxide emissions per inhabitant
4.6 tonnes (2014)
The share of energy from renewable sources
13.5 percent (2015)
Act of terror
President Hollande calls the government a crisis meeting and urges the public
to be vigilant after incidents in Tours and Dijon where men ran straight into
crowds and injured people. The perpetrators are reported to have shouted "God is
great" in Arabic. One of them was shot dead by police.
Gun shop laid on ice
President Hollande again postpones the delivery of one of two Mistral
aircraft carriers to Russia, this time indefinitely. The decision is justified
by Russia's involvement in eastern Ukraine. If France completely breaks the
sales contract, there is a risk of paying heavy penalties. (see October 2014)
Business with Russia postponed
France postpones delivery of its helicopter-carrying aircraft carrier
Vladivostok to Russia. The ship is one of two Mistral military vessels ordered
by Russia from France for over EUR 1.2 billion.
Nobel Prize to French author
Author Patrick Modiano receives the Nobel Prize in Literature.
The National Front is elected to the Senate
Elections are held for half of the Senate's 348 seats on September 28. The
national front takes up the seat for the first time and wins two seats.
The Frenchman has been kidnapped by a militant Islamist group in Algeria
linked to the Islamic State extremist movement. President Hollande condemns the
Interventions against IS
President Hollande announces that France is ready to participate in military
action against the Islamic State forces. French fighter aircraft are deployed to
contribute to the US-led operation in Iraq. (see Iraq: Current Policy).
Valls wins the vote of confidence
269 of the members of the National Assembly support the government's policy
while 244 are opposed.
The government is leaving
Prime Minister Manuel Valls announces that his government is resigning. The
dramatic decision, supported by President Hollande, comes after three ministers,
including Finance Minister Arnaud Montebourg, strongly criticized the current
economic policy. Montebourg demands that the turnaround policy be abandoned in
favor of incentives that can accelerate growth in the crisis-hit economy. The
three ministers are supported by a left wing within the Socialist Party. After
the resignation, Prime Minister Valls will be asked directly by President
Hollande to form a new government. Montebourg and the two other insurgent
ministers are not part of the new government. New finance minister is Emmanuel
Macron, a former presidential adviser.
Weapons for Kurds
The French government will send weapons to Kurdish troops in Iraq to fight
the forces of Islamists (see Iraq: Current Policy).
Pressures to cancel arms deal with Russia
The press is increasing on the French government to cancel an arms deal with
Russia, which includes, among other things, two Mistral warships since Germany
canceled arms sales. France has ensured that the deal will not be subject to EU
sanctions against Russia, citing the severe consequences that a cancellation of
sales would cause for shipyard workers who would lose their jobs.
Green light for banning the veil
In a ruling, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the 2010 French
veil ban does not violate religious freedom. According to the law, women are not
allowed to wear a comprehensive veil in public places (see also Religion).
New investigation against Sarkozy
Former President Nicolas Sarkozy is taken in for questioning by
anti-corruption police. An investigation is already underway on irregularities
in connection with Sarkozy's 2007 presidential campaign, among other things, he
is suspected of receiving money from the then Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi.
What he is being heard about now is whether he has tried to obtain inside
information about that investigation from a judge. Shortly thereafter, Sarkozy,
his lawyer and a judge are formally accused of corruption.
UMP leaders resign
Jean-Francois Copé resigns as leader of the UMP after a corruption scandal
was discovered in connection with Nicolas Sarkozy's presidential campaign.
Defeat of the Socialist Party in EU elections
President Hollande and his Socialist Party suffer yet another major hardship
in the election to the European Parliament. Preliminary results show that the
party only ended up in third place in the election with about 14 percent of the
vote. The big whale stands for the National Front. About 25 percent of voters
cast their votes on the party, which is also ahead of the UMP, which has
received about 21 percent of the vote. (25/5)
Reform of the government
Shortly after the election results became known, President Hollande undergoes
a reorganization of the government. Jean-Marc Ayrault may hand over the Prime
Minister's post to Interior Minister Manuel Valls.
Success for the right in local elections
Opposition is strongly advancing in local elections, while the Socialist
Party suffers defeat in 155 cities with over 9,000 inhabitants. Several of the
cities have been controlled by the socialists for several decades. UMP wins in
several important cities such as Quimper, Toulouse, Limoges. At the same time,
the National Front makes its best choice since the 1990s and wins in 14 cities.
The only bright spot for Hollande and the Socialist Party is that the party's
candidate Anne Hidalgo wins the mayoral election in Paris. She thus becomes the
first female mayor of the capital ever.
Hollande promises measures against unemployment
President Hollandes has long been planning a press conference on economic
policy in the shadow of his alleged love story with actress, Julie Gayet.
Hollande promises to take on unemployment. He also wants to introduce tax cuts
for companies of the equivalent of EUR 30 billion and reduce government spending
by EUR 50 billion over the course of three years.