As part of an effort to pare down government bureaucracy, France will make 700 million euros available for investment in technologies including blockchain and AI. The money will be dispersed over the course of five years.
Other measures being considered to reduce spending include budget cuts and public sector layoffs of some of France's 5.5 million government functionaries. However, Thomas Cazenave, the administration reform czar recently appointed by President Emmanuel Macron, hopes to find technological solutions that will render at least some of the potential firings unnecessary.
To date, Macron has provided few details about where exactly cuts might be made, though his budget minister referred to the possibility of a voluntary redundancy plan earlier this month. Additionally, some public services may reportedly be outsourced or abandoned altogether.
In an interview, Cazenave said that the "potential created by digitalization, data and artificial intelligence will help put fewer employees on some tasks, while reinvesting in others." Embracing these technologies could also prevent France from being "uberised," a colloquialism that ostensibly describes the possibility that government services could be eclipsed in popularity by private sector alternatives.
Cazenave predicted that public sector employees will support the technology-based path to governmental savings.
In a mid-January speech, French finance minister Bruno Le Maire called for a range of actions on cryptocurrency, including the proposal of regulations aimed at preventing digital assets from being used for purposes of money laundering, tax evasion, and terrorist financing.