France overtakes UK and Germany to claim foreign investment crown

France overtakes UK and Germany to claim foreign investment crown
The Paris business district of La Defence has reopened. Photo: AFP
France has for the first time been named the top destination for foreign investment in Europe, overtaking both the UK and Germany.

In newly released data from 2019 – so not including the economic effects of the lockdown – France showed the highest level of new foreign investment.

In total France recorded a 17 percent increase in 2019 with 1,197 foreign investment projects while the UK showed a five percent rise to 1,109 and Germany plateaued at 971.

Europe is facing a troubled economic future after the massive economic shock of lockdown, with experts predicting that France faces its worst recession since 1945.

Two thirds of business leaders surveyed by consultancy firm EY at the end of April expected to revise their French investment plans this year and 15 percent expected to push them back to 2021. None expected to cancel projects or increase them.

President Emmanuel Macron has put making France more business-friendly at the heart of his presidency and has introduced a series of measures to boost the country's attractiveness to investors including loosening the strict labour laws.

 

When the latest foreign investment figures were announced he tweeted: “When a foreign company chooses France, it is an opportunity for employment, for the life of our country, for our economy.

“France has all the assets we need to get off to a strong start and emerge even more resilient from the crisis we are going through.”

In 2018, more than 600,000 companies were created in France and the Macron administration is aiming to to ease the process of creating a company and to change France's mindset on business.

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Macron has also been keen to attract businesses and international organisations leaving the UK due to Brexit and has launched the 'Choose France' package that provides financial help and English-language support to businesses that want to move to France.

 


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