Sat. Apr 20th, 2019

France, Germany and Spain, the winners of the Brexit, according to Business France

France, Germany and Spain, the winners of the Brexit, according to Business France



France, Germany and Spain are being the "big winners" of the Brexit process, and especially the city of Paris, which has already become the first European financial market, according to the director of Business France for the Iberian Peninsula, Géraldine Filippi .

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"Now, Paris is the first European financial market and it is also the first start-up place in Europe: we have more 'start-up' than Silicon Valley, nobody knows, but we are very proud," says Filippi in an interview with Efe.

Business France (BF) is the official agency of the French Government, under the Ministry of Economy, which helps French companies in their international development and exporters and foreign investors interested in France.

Filippi explains that the fear that the United Kingdom may change its regulatory framework when its exit from the European Union is consumed has already had a psychological impact on investors, and many of the projects that were to be carried out in that country. country have gone "to France and Germany, first, and to Spain, the third".

"Many financial projects have chosen Paris, now Paris is the first European financial market," she says with satisfaction.

Filippi believes that Brexit could have had more positive consequences for Spain, had not the political crisis in Catalonia occurred.

"The Catalan crisis affected foreign investments in Spain, because many of the companies that looked at Barcelona began to think that the 'Catexit' (a hypothetical secession of Catalonia from Spain) could be the second part".

"Take the risk of leaving England to enter Catalonia and have the same thing happen to them ... They did not want to repeat the same story twice", argues the director of BF for Spain and Portugal.

In addition, when you are away from the scene of the events tends to dramatize the situation, "a bit like what is happening," he says, with the protests of the "yellow vests."

In this regard, she declares herself "angry with the press" for the attention and time she continues to give to what remains of this protest movement.

"How can 8,000 people have such success on television?" He asks, and clarifies that he does not refer to the beginning of the crisis, but to what remains of it.

The protest of the 'yellow vests' is the result of having to do now what Spain did during the crisis, when "it was reformed a lot". "France during the crisis did not do it, and we are doing it now," he explains.

"President (Emmanuel) Macron is following the schedule without changing anything, neither a date nor a reform, he has opened the national debate to talk to the people, but the reform still stands."

"In the end," according to Filippi, "people will realize that they are useful reforms, France needed to reform."

Business France advises some 250 Spanish companies in Madrid each year and, according to its director, "what they tell us most is how happy they are because France has ended up reforming as they have done before".

With the exception of 2015, when Spanish investment in France fell after years of growth driven by the crisis and the search for foreign markets, Spanish companies once again bet strongly on the neighboring country.

"This year there are the same number of projects in France, but they create more jobs, and we also see a change in the type of investments: before we had service projects, now we see many logistic projects, and R & D projects, which are accompanied Industrial projects".

France has the best tax incentives for investment in R & D in the world, even above Canada, emphasizes the director.

"For us it's fantastic, because R & D projects are the ones we like the most: in France we have a lot of engineers and in Spain they are missing," he says.

In 2018 29% of the Spanish investment went to Paris, 20% to the New Aquitania region, 16% to Occitania, and 13% to Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur.

At the same time, in recent years, Madrid has accounted for between 60% and 70% of Spanish investment destined for France, and for Catalonia 20%, when it came to represent 50% twenty years ago.

In Business France they have detected that when a French investor arrives in Spain, what is most difficult for him is to understand that there are different rules in each region.

"It does not mean that we have to centralize, but to standardize, it would be easier if the rule were the same or almost the same in each region," says the director of BF.

The French businessman appreciates, moreover, the proximity of the Spanish market, the training of professionals - with the exception of the striking shortage of engineers - and ... "the quality of life".

Spain, says Filippi, "is one of the countries where it is hardest to leave".

José Manuel Sanz

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