Macron sets out next phase of plan to turn France into ‘startup nation’

Cutting red tape and boosting investment on the cards

French president Emmanuel Macron. Photograph: Charles Platiau/Reuters

French president Emmanuel Macron. Photograph: Charles Platiau/Reuters

 

French president Emmanuel Macron set out the next phase of his plan to turn the country into a “startup nation” on Monday.

In a bill that will go to Parliament after the summer break, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire unveiled plans to cut red tape and boost investment. Mr Macron has already loosened labour laws and cut corporate taxes and is aiming to change the country’s benefits culture to reduce the state’s spending on welfare. The measures will cost €1.1 billion in the first year.

Mr Le Maire said his changes will add 0.3 per cent to the economy by 2025 with output 1 per cent higher in the long run. The Bank of France said on June 14th that the economy should expand 1.8 per cent this year while the jobless rate will fall to 8.3 per cent in 2020 from 9.2 per cent now.

“This bill comes right on time to rekindle our growth,” Mr Le Maire told reporters in Paris. “We need a deep reform, a coherent reform that will remove all the brakes on our economy.”

Among the key measures are a one-stop shop for setting up a company, but not before 2021; a single registry for businesses and incentives for private savers to invest in funds focused on small firms.

The measures will also ease thresholds which trigger higher taxes and increase workers’ rights as firms grow, provide simpler auditing and bankruptcy procedures for small companies and formalise companies’ social and environmental role in society.

On foreign investment, new rules will protect strategic sectors and create powers to sanction foreign investors who breach commitments on jobs. Among the industries added to the list of strategic sectors are semi-conductors, artificial intelligence, data storage, aerospace, drones and robots.

The markets regulator AMF will offer a “visa” to providers of initial coin offerings who want to use cryptocurrency offerings as alternative to traditional funding. The system will create a secure financial environment for fundraising in virtual currencies, the ministry said. – Bloomberg