Five Takeaways From Macron’s Plan to Revamp French Business

President Emmanuel Macron set out the next phase of his plan to turn France 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. Macron has already loosened labor 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 euros ($1.3 billion) in the first year.
Le Maire said his changes will add 0.3 percent to the economy by 2025 with output 1 percent higher in the long run. The Bank of France said June 14 that the economy should expand 1.8 percent this year while the jobless rate will fall to 8.3 percent in 2020 from 9.2 percent now.
“This bill comes right on time to rekindle our growth,” Le Maire told reporters in Paris. “We need a deep reform, a coherent reform that will remove all the brakes on our economy.”
These are the key measures:

Less Red Tape, More Money

  • A one-stop shop for setting up a company... but not before 2021
  • Single registry for businesses
  • No more requirements for specialist “craft training” before getting started
  • Incentives for private savers to invest in funds focused on small firms

Less Hassle, More Responsibilities

  • Easing thresholds which trigger higher taxes and more workers’ rights as firms grow
  • Simpler auditing and bankruptcy procedures for small companies
  • Formalizing companies’ social and environmental role in society
  • Workers’ representatives guaranteed two board seats

Foreign Investment

  • New rules to protect strategic sectors
  • Powers to sanction foreign investors who breach commitments on jobs
  • Industries added to list of strategic sectors include: semi-conductors, artificial intelligence, data storage, aerospace, drones and robots

Public Stakes and Golden Shares

  • Selling shares in energy provider Engie SA, airport operator Aeroports de Paris SA and lottery company Francaise des Jeux could potentially raise as much as 15 billion euros
  • Sales may not begin until early 2019 since the bill has to go through Parliament
  • State will retain veto right through golden shares covering all state holdings deemed strategic

Cryptocurrencies Welcome

  • Markets regulator AMF will offer a “visa” to providers of initial coin offerings who want to use cryptocurrency offerings as alternative to traditional funding
  • System will create a secure financial environment for fundraising in virtual currencies, ministry says

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