Foreign Investments: France Leading in Europe for the 4th Consecutive Year

Foreign Investments in France

In 2022, France announced the completion of 1,259 projects, thereby reaffirming its position as the most attractive country in Europe for the fourth consecutive year.

According to the EY Attractiveness Survey for France in 2023, while the crisis of 2022 has limited the post-Covid recovery in Europe, the total number of foreign investments in the region (5,962) has only increased by 1% compared to 2021, remaining far below pre-pandemic levels and the record reached in 2017 (6,653).

France’s status as a leader in terms of attractiveness has been maintained in 2022.

Despite moderate growth in foreign investments in Europe in 2022 (5,962, representing an increase of only 1% compared to 2021), France confirms its leading position with 1,259 announced installations or expansions in 2022, marking a 3% increase compared to 2021. This performance, which confirms the momentum initiated in 2017, has been maintained despite the economic challenges arising from the geopolitical crisis.

However, the number of jobs generated in France by foreign investments decreased by 15% in 2022, with an average of 33 jobs per project, which is lower than other major host countries in Europe (58 in Germany, 59 in the United Kingdom).

Short-term resilience, medium-term concerns

According to a survey conducted between February 15 and March 15, 2023, among 204 executives, the intention to invest in France remains strong, with 61% of them planning investments in France in 2023. However, the outlook for attractiveness over the next three years has weakened: 74% of foreign investors anticipated an improvement in 2021, compared to 63% in 2022 and only 53% at the beginning of 2023.

France is known for its industrial and innovative capabilities; however, it faces a shortage of logistic and decision-making jobs.

The industry has once again become a cornerstone of France’s attractiveness, representing 4 out of 10 projects in 2022. According to industrial leaders, the availability of decarbonized energy, despite the current energy crisis, is the main asset of France.

On the other hand, France needs to improve its performance in terms of decision-making centers, as it lags behind the United Kingdom, which attracted 133 headquarters in 2022 compared to 78 for France. Similarly, France has experienced a significant decrease in investments in logistics platforms (-21% compared to 2021), despite various simplification measures.

Eric Fourel, President of EY in France, emphasizes, “Despite the geopolitical, economic, and energy shocks that have shaken Europe, the continent is resilient. However, the risk of relocation, especially in the energy sector, cannot be ruled out if France and Europe fail to provide an appropriate response. In a context of increased competition from the United States and countries with less stringent environmental protection requirements, the coming months will be decisive in this race for attractiveness.”

Marc Lhermitte, Partner at EYadds, “By maintaining its first place in Europe, France continues its ‘remontada’ (comeback). There are many reasons for satisfaction, with industrial or innovative projects that meet the imperatives of transforming our economy. However, there is still work to be done to create more qualified jobs and adapt our territorial, educational, fiscal, and regulatory systems to the new realities of increasingly technological and decarbonized projects.”

The impact of foreign investments in the Sud region and on the French Riviera (Côte d’Azur) in 2022:

The Sud Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region experienced a record-breaking year in 2022 in terms of attracting foreign investments. It witnessed 124 establishments from 30 different countries, leading to the creation of 4,147 jobs. This figure represents a significant increase of 20% in the number of attracted projects and an impressive 87% increase in direct employment generated compared to 2021. Over the past decade, the number of attracted projects and generated jobs has more than doubled.

These results reflect the increasing interest of international investors in our region, which stands out due to its strategic positioning, excellent sectors, industrial ecosystem, and proactive climate policies

More than half of these projects are decision-making centers or research and development (R&D) facilities, further enhancing the region’s capacity for innovation. The United States remains the leading historical investor with 22 projects in 2022, including the establishment of Berlin Packaging in Nice. Tunisia has made its entry into the top three with 13 projects, signifying a growing interest in the Sud Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region from Tunisian investors. Additionally, the United Kingdom has confirmed its interest in the region with 11 projects, highlighting the continued bilateral investment activities between the UK and the region.

In 2022, Invest in Côte d’Azur supported 44 establishment projects, leading to the creation of 621 jobs. 45% of the establishments and 42% of the jobs were generated by foreign investments.

Companies Investment – Nice Côte d’Azur France

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