“French Londoners, France loves you” was just one among the many messages directed to expat voters by centrist president to be elected Emmanuel Macron. During his long campaign Macron showed understanding and importance of engaging with voters outside of France. His victory is a result not only of promises apropos internal goals and expectations, but also very ambitious foreign policy endeavors. Beside foreign policy strivings, France will need much faster economic growth.
In the last decade France has lost its position in Europe and at the same time trust of Germany which started treating it as a junior partner in the EU. At the same time unemployment rate in France is close to 10% and for those under 25 it has been above 20% since 2009.
Faced with Brexit, Macron must act fast in attempts to push France higher in the EU hierarchy and to place its economy as one with highly business oriented approach.
Main figures of the two goals equation are President Macron, Prime minister Philippe and Finance Minister Le Maire. They are expressing great acceptance of the business and finance world rules. One of the concrete examples of such behavior is the decision to set up a special court to handle English-law cases for financial contracts after Britain leaves the EU. Most loan and derivative contracts in Europe are written in English law, but Britain’s exit from the EU raises problems with how they would be enforced outside of Britain. “All proceedings will take place in English. We will hire people with experience in common law, regardless of where they come from”, Le Maire said recently in New York.
This is a huge step for a country that takes immense pride in its language and cherishes its legal system rooted in Roman law. “Long gone are the days when you could only do business or speak to regulators in French. We will always be proud of our language, but we also understand the need to make it easier for financial institutions operating in France,” Le Maire said in a speech delivered in English. “Attracting major U.S. banks to Paris, rather than letting them settle in London, Dublin, Amsterdam or Frankfurt, is about creating jobs in France, bringing wealth to France,” Le Maire said. Prime Minister Edouard Philippe is to announce measures in the coming weeks to boost the attractiveness of Paris as a global financial hub, a government spokesman said earlier this week.
President Macron, former investment banker, knows that if France wants to regain its place as an EU leader next to Germany, positive achievements in economic sphere will have significant influence. One of the key contributors to that aim could be setting Paris as the new financial capital of Europe. However, we will not wait long to see the results of “Global banks, Paris loves you” policy.