these positive signals that the government wants to see

these positive signals that the government wants to see
these positive signals that the government wants to see

Dn the latest report from the EY firm on the attractiveness of France, published this Thursday, May 2, a little sentence must have particularly pleased Bruno Le Maire. “France is the most attractive country in Europe for the fifth year in a row, ahead of the United Kingdom and Germany. » The boss of Bercy was quick to comment: “Yes, the French economy is solid. Yes, she is attractive. And, no, it’s not a coincidence! »

The publication of this report is timely. On Tuesday, the Minister of the Economy and Finance was also somewhat excessively pleased with the INSEE estimates, which show a slight increase in GDP in the first quarter of 2024, at 0.2%. “To all those who want to believe that our economy is at a standstill: the facts are stubborn. French growth is progressing. It is a new sign which reflects the solidity of our economy,” reacted the minister.

Friday April 26, the decision of the rating agencies, which, against all expectations, decided to keep France’s rating unchanged, also relieved the government. “Our country, like the whole world, is going through difficulties which are notably linked to the war in Ukraine, but France is doing better than the others from an economic point of view,” added Gabriel Attal, the next day .

These good signals are confirmation that the government’s economic strategy is the right one, the Élysée wants to believe. In the midst of a debate on public finances, after the public deficit has slipped to 5.5% of GDP in 2023, all positive news is welcome.

“Reindustrialization in progress”

The EY firm’s barometer, which studies foreign establishment projects in 45 European countries, places France at the top of the podium, ahead of the United Kingdom and Germany. “Recent French performances are notably the fruit of successive waves of reforms, which have accelerated over the last ten years – reform of the Labor Code, reduction in corporate and capital taxes, reduction in production taxes, law Pact, France Relance and France 2030 plans,” greets the cabinet. France is also taking advantage of “the feared consequences of Brexit and German difficulties”, underlines the report.

The three European countries represent 51% of direct investments abroad made in Europe in 2023. In France, foreign investment projects – which have nevertheless decreased by 5% since last year – are being deployed both in the major historical sectors (automobile, aeronautics, industrial equipment) as well as in business services. “Reindustrialization is underway,” says EY. 530 factories have been established or expanded in France in 2023, underlines the audit firm, which specifies that “France retains the first European place in number of industrial projects and jobs”.

Less investment in tech

But France also has weaknesses, particularly in digital technology, notes the report. The companies Zoom, Open IA, HCL Technologies and even the French company Klaxoon have chosen to set up or expand in the United Kingdom. London has thus attracted twice as much investment in tech as Paris: 255 compared to 135. Leaders also favor our English neighbor to establish their head offices. In the financial sector, it is again London which wins the bet with 108 foreign investments in 2023, compared to 39 in France.

On the employment side, foreign-funded companies generated nearly 40,000 jobs in France in 2023. This is more than last year, but it remains lower than the number of jobs created in the United Kingdom (52,000) or in Spain (42,000), underlines EY. Finally, the audit firm notes a “recent and fairly clear” decrease in American investment in Europe, “probably under the effect of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA)”. The number of direct investments abroad from the United States has fallen by 15% compared to 2022.

On the growth side, the OECD also slightly raised its forecasts for 2023 in a report published this Thursday. However, the government’s objectives remain ambitious. Bercy anticipates growth of 1% in 2024, while the OECD and the majority of economists are counting on 0.7%. For 2025, the government is banking on 1.4% compared to 1.3% according to OECD forecasts. Finally, the economic organization warned the executive: “Additional budgetary consolidation efforts will be essential to resolutely reduce the debt, in particular by restricting the wage bill of public administrations and rationalizing social, health and tax expenditure. »

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