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France is to plough EUR50m (US$60m) into retraining workers being made redundant in the country’s automotive foundry sector.

The increasing shift to electric vehicles means fewer parts need to be manufactured in foundries, leading a group of senior French politicians, headed by Finance Minister, Bruno Le Maire, to ink an amendment to the ‘France Relance’ plan, releasing further support funding for the sector.

“Exceptional funding for staff retraining of EUR50m, with a contribution of EUR20m from manufacturers, will support retraining projects for workers made redundant in the automotive sector,” said a statement from Le Maire’s Finance Ministry. “The ways this will happen will be outlined in the next few weeks.

“The automotive foundry sector is confronted by major challenges linked to growing international competition and a sharp drop in demand for internal combustion engine components.

“Vehicle weight reduction and electrification of the car parc is leading to significant changes in technologies and required skills to be able to respond to the expectations of manufacturers and automotive suppliers.”

The Finance Ministry made its comments following a meeting yesterday (26 April) in Paris between Le Maire, OEMs and automotive foundry companies.

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The discussions in Paris were also attended by Work and Employment Minister, Elizabeth Borne, Transport Minister, Baptiste Djebbari and Industry Minister, Agnès Pannier-Runacher.

Also present was president of France’s Plateforme Automobile (PFA), Luc Chatel, who was representing the Comité Stratégique de Filière Automobile.

France registered 107,000 electric vehicles in 2020, which represents a tripling of market share compared to 2019.

The country is also accelerating its EV recharging points infrastructure, with 156 out of a total of 368 motorway service stations equipped with fast chargers.

By the end of 2021, this figure will reach 192 with some EUR100m being dedicated to the project as part of the France Relance initiative.