Hollande made the announcement on Tuesday in the northern French city of Boulogne-sur-Mer, stating that the aim was to “improve quality of life” in France’s most “poverty-stricken neighbourhoods”.
“When you revamp an area, businesses and shops are set up there,” the French President said, adding that tax breaks and incentives would be provided to ensure new business activities in the impoverished districts take off.
The urban renewal plan (NPNRU) is also expected to have the knock-on effect of 300,000 new jobs and 20 billion euros in spending.
Hollande’s discourse over the past few days appears to have been focused primarily on integration and inequality in a now multicultural and multifaceted France.
On Monday he gave an impassioned defence of the impact of immigration on the country and criticized the spreading of “fear” around Islam by those who try to portray it as “incompatible with the Republic”.
Educational equality also seems to be at the forefront of Hollande’s current political agenda as his government prepares to unveil a new schooling classification system aimed at helping pupils in disadvantaged areas.
The Resources for Priority Education (REP), put together by Education Minister Najat Vallaud-Belkacem and to be presented on Wednesday, will offer 1082 centres across France (see map below) €305 million in funds, including perks for teachers (double allowance and less working hours), with the aim of bridging the success gap between these schools and the national average.