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Limits of decoupling

In the spring of 2020, when protective masks could hardly be bought in any pharmacy in France, rumors circulated that the delivery from China intended for the French had been bought up directly on the tarmac by another country. French politicians were outraged; France had ordered a billion masks from the People’s Republic – which were urgently needed. Head of State Emmanuel Macron made an ambitious announcement not only concerning the supply bottlenecks: Important goods must once again be able to be produced in one’s own country – and not only concerning the fight against the pandemic. France’s and Europe’s independence must be restored and dependence on global – and above all Chinese – supply chains reduced, Macron said. That was well received politically.

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