France has not kept secret its hopes to use Brexit to attract British and international companies away from the UK to have them set up new headquarters in Paris. A new PR campaign is to be launched next week in a last-ditch attempt to have UK-based companies to move over across the Channel to make use of the “top of our engineers,” Luxembourg-based broadcaster RTL’s economy expert Martial You said. Speaking to the broadcaster’s Petit Matin show, Mr You said: “The next step is attracting researchers and the departments of research and development of big enterprises.
“France is recognised across the world for the quality of its engineers and the research tax credit.
“The region hopes to attract two divisions of the European laboratories for Copernicus – 250 people – specialised in the study of climate and are currently based in London.”
Mr You continued: “Next Thursday, the Île-de-France region and the Essonne Department are going to launch a new PR campaign abroad to propose to great enterprises to install new headquarters and researchers on the Plateau de Saclay, where you find the top of our engineers with the campus of the Polytechnic and of Supelec.”
According to the latest reports from the organisation Choose Paris Region, only 136 companies with UK bases have announced plans to move to Paris or the Île-de-France region.
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Martial You said a new campaign aimed at researchers will launch next week
The RTL reporter continued: “To this day, we have 136 companies who have crossed the Channel or will soon cross it.
“That is 5,500 jobs in total for the Ile-de-France region – 3,600 in financial services according to the latest numbers and 1,900 jobs in IT services.
“It’s especially banking services which have made the move because after Brexit it will be more difficult and more expensive to manage the financial flow from outside the European Union.”
Paris, alongside the German finance hub of Frankfurt, have been vying to attract top banking companies away from London with extensive PR campaigns.
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Emmanuel Macron had previously urged people unhappy with Brexit to move to France
But in spite of repeated attempts to lure business away from the UK, Boris Johnson last week dismissed warnings suggesting Brexit would push companies out of the country.
Speaking at the UK-Africa Investment Summit in Greenwich last Monday, the Prime Minister said: “One tube stop away and you’ll be in Canary Wharf where, along with its older siblings in the City, trillions of pounds in capital are being raised for every venture you can think of, from French construction to African telecoms to American cancer-curing drugs.
“It may give you some idea of the scale of the financial services in London when I say Canary Wharf alone is a bigger banking centre than the whole of Frankfurt.
“We have the tech, tech of all kinds and we have, by far, the biggest tech sector anywhere in this hemisphere.”
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Financial experts had warned before the 2016 Brexit referendum other European financial capitals like Paris or Frankfurt would surpass London and attract investment away from the UK.
Reports from 2018 suggested 30 out of 37 financial institutions based in the UK applied for licences to the European Central Bank to begin operations in Frankfurt ahead of Brexit, according to Frankfurt Main Finance.
A number of Asian banks, including Nomura, Daiwa, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group (SMFG) and Mizuho Securities have revealed their intention to shift operations to Frankfurt.
Goldman Sachs, which employs 6,500 UK staff, doubled its Frankfurt workforce to 400 in the years since the referendum.
But the chief of the group Frankfurt Main Finance Hubertus Väth admitted in October the German financial hud had seen “significantly fewer people than we expected” move to Germany from the City of London.