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France post-Brexit: economic challenges



The United Kingdom exited the European Union following the referendum of June 23rd, 2016. Since then, a withdrawal agreement has been found, and the UK finally left Europe on February 1st 2020. The Brexit has impacted several European countries, including France, which will have to face serious economic challenges. But spirits are high and the country is confident it can overcome them.

The consequences of Brexit on French companies

The UK’s exit from the EU has made a lot of headlines. In the case of France, Brexit would put it among the six most affected countries by Brexit if no free trade agreements were to be concluded. According to Euler Hermes, French companies incur up to €3.2 billion in export losses. This would affect many sectors of activity, like the automotive industry, agriculture (the UK is France’s third largest customer), but also fishing.

But Brexit also brings its share of opportunities: with the United Kingdom’s exit from Europe, France becomes the leading country in terms of the number of breweries on its territory (1,600 in 2018) according to the Brewers of Europe.

France, Europe’s leading financial centre?

According to Bruno Le Maire, French Minister of economy, “Paris is going to become Europe’s leading financial centre”. Before Brexit, London was Europe’s traditional leading financial centre employing more than 250,000 people.

Paris has about 180,000 jobs in finance (Paris Europlace figures), placing it well above its European counterparts (30,000 in Dublin or 70,000 in Frankfurt). Since Brexit, 80 to 100 British companies have decided to relocate some 4,000 jobs to Paris (European Banking Authority’s 250 employees have joined another regulatory body, the European Securities and Markets Authority – ESMA). Famous banks such as Bank of America, HSBC, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs have followed the trend, developing their offering and relocating their staff to France.

The result is that France can take advantage of Brexit in the fields of finance, insurance, market capitalisation and asset management.

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