France is the second largest economy in the EU after Germany and is one of the wealthy industrial countries worldwide. Important sectors are automobile and aircraft construction, the chemical and pharmaceutical industry, telecommunications and the processing of food and beverages. On the one hand, there are large groups of companies, for example in the aerospace industry (Airbus), energy supply (Areva, Electricité de France) and in the transport sector (railways).
With the TGV, the first European high-speed train was built in France. With the support of the state, large-scale industry was the driving force behind economic modernization after the Second World War. On the other hand, small family businesses are typical of France to this day. Youth unemployment is high compared to other EU countries. The government is therefore trying to create a dual system (vocational school, training company) in vocational training, similar to that in Germany.
More than three quarters of the workforce now work in the service sector. Tourism plays a major role in this. Because France is one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations due to its scenic diversity, historical cities, bathing and winter sports resorts. At 3%, the proportion of people employed in agriculture is twice as high as in Germany. This is due to the great economic importance of the agricultural sector and the many small businesses.
In the EU, according to directoryaah, France produces most of the agricultural goods, especially grain. The regional variety of wines and cheeses is famous. In the Atlantic, especially in Normandy and Brittany, fishing and mussel farming (oysters) are important. Le Havre in Normandy and Marseille have the largest sea trading ports.
France covers more than 70% of its electricity needs from nuclear power plants, making it the world leader. Nevertheless, the country is lagging behind in the reduction in carbon dioxide emissions that the EU countries have committed to by 2020. The majority of renewable energies are generated by hydropower plants.
Despite its ongoing contraction and structural change, agriculture is still of great importance to the French economy. Even if only around 3% (1962: 20%; 1975: 9.5%) of all economically active persons are employed in agriculture and the products of agriculture, forestry and fisheries (2017) only account for around With a 2% stake, France is the largest producer of agricultural products of all EU countries and the world’s largest exporter of agricultural products. The most important agricultural export goods are beverages (especially wine), animals, meat and meat products, cereals and cereal products (France is by far the largest cereal producer in the EU; around 25% of production), milk and dairy products, sugar, vegetables and fruit.
In France, 52.5% of the area is used for agriculture, of which 63% are used for arable farming, 33% as pasture land and 4% for fruit and wine growing. Small and medium-sized companies still predominate, but larger companies are becoming more and more important. Around 43% of the farms have a farm size of up to 20 ha and thus make up around 5% of the agriculturally used area. The farms with more than 200 ha (approx. 4% of the total farms) cultivate around 21% of the agriculturally used area. The total number of farms has fallen sharply in the course of structural change from 1.6 million (1970) to 514 700 (2010). Large farms can be found predominantly in the Paris Basin. However, the small and very small businesses, some of which grow high-quality special products (vegetables, herbs, wine, etc.) are also
In the Mediterranean area you can find fruit growing, olive trees and flower crops, while the Atlantic coast is suitable for horticulture due to the mild and humid climate. Important wine-growing regions are Burgundy, Champagne, Bordelais, the Loire Valley and Alsace, for simpler wines the Languedoc (French wines). France is one of the largest wine producers in the world; In 2014, 46.2 million hectoliters were produced.
Livestock is mainly practiced in the north and north-west, in the Paris basin and in the mountains. The share of livestock farming in total agriculture is around 60%. France has the largest cattle population in Europe and is one of the most important producers of meat and dairy products.
A comprehensive agricultural structural policy is being pursued in France. In particular, low-interest loans and social security subsidies are intended to help secure income and improve competitiveness. Due to the changed market conditions for grain, the agricultural sector is trying for its part to reduce overcapacities in grain production and to create market niches in the area of certain special products (e.g. medicinal herbs, aromatic plants) or high-quality products (e.g. high-protein forage crops such as peas, beans and lupins) to tap into. Due to the southern expansion of the EU (Spain, Portugal), problems arose for French agriculture, especially with the products typical of the Mediterranean countries (e.g. wine, fruit and vegetables).
Forestry: With 16.80 million hectares of forest (30.6% of the total area), France is a country with little forest. Almost 75% of the forest is privately owned. The most important tree species are oak, beech and poplar. Logging has intensified in recent years. While France exports large quantities of raw wood, it has a large deficit in processed products.
Fisheries: Some of the catches in fisheries are limited by EU regulations. In 2011, around 4,600 cutters in the French fishing fleet landed 453,900 tonnes of fish and seafood. In addition, there are 226,000 t from fish farms. An attempt is made to meet the increasing demand for these vitamin-rich plants with greatly increased landings of aquatic plants (approx. 22,700 t fresh weight); The oyster beds on the west coast are also of importance. The main fishing ports are Concarneau, Cherbourg, Marennes / Oléron, Boulogne-sur-Mer and Lorient.