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French finance minister Bruno Le Maire, right, and deputy Franck Riester arrive at the Élysée Palace in Paris, France, May 6 2024. Picture: REUTERS/SARAH MEYSSONNIER
French finance minister Bruno Le Maire, right, and deputy Franck Riester arrive at the Élysée Palace in Paris, France, May 6 2024. Picture: REUTERS/SARAH MEYSSONNIER

Paris — France said Morgan Stanley would open a new European office in Paris, while two other companies announced a combined investment worth €700m, as the country prepared to host a key annual foreign investment summit.

Finance minister Bruno Le Maire said on Sunday that the new office from Wall Street bank Morgan Stanley, dubbed as its new “European campus”, would create 100 more jobs.

He added that German aviation firm Lilium would invest €400m in a factory while Swiss-based firm KL1 would commit €300m of funds in a nickel refining site. Those two investments, combined, could create more than 1,000 jobs.

Le Maire was speaking as President Emmanuel Macron was set to host the annual “Choose France” event on Monday aimed at wooing big overseas businesses and investors.

The event comes as France, the eurozone’s second-biggest economy, faces concerns over its budget deficit while its growth in the first quarter was just 0.2%.

Le Maire said France and the EU as a whole still had to do more against competition from China and the US.

He said that at a EU meeting in Brussels last week he would reaffirm the need for a capital markets union to facilitate investments into new areas of the economy such as renewable energy and artificial intelligence.

“New industries and the new economy need massive amounts of capital. We urgently need to take concrete steps to get the capital markets union going. I will be able to go to Brussels at the start of this week to once again make the case for this capital markets union,” he told reporters.

“Europe needs money. If not, it will continue to lose out in terms of productivity to the US and China.”

Macron wants to burnish Paris’ role as a top European business capital.

The closely watched Z/Yen survey of global financial centres, published in March, put Paris in 14th place, behind Frankfurt, with New York chosen as the world’s top financial hub.

French oil major TotalEnergies said last month it was looking at having its primary stock market listing in New York.

Le Maire said that as part of the “Choose France” event — which last year raised €13bn of foreign investments — he would host meetings on Monday with the CEOs of JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Bank of America, among other firms.

“These roundtables will give us an opportunity to once again reach out to the big financial investors so that they can continue to set up sites in Paris and finance the major industrial and economic projects on which we are working with the president,” said Le Maire.

Reuters

 

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