PARIS (Reuters) - La France a dépassé la Grande-Bretagne et l'Allemagne comme première destination des investissements internationaux en Europe pour la première fois, a révélé une enquête jeudi, bien que le nombre de projets risque d'être révisé à la suite de l'épidémie de coronavirus.
France counted 1197 foreign investment projects last year, up 17% compared to 2018 and ahead of Great Britain with 1109 projects (up 5%) and Germany with 971 (unchanged), according to EY consultants.
Two-thirds of the business leaders interviewed by EY in late April planned to review their French investment plans this year and 15% would postpone them to 2021. None planned to cancel or increase projects.
President Emmanuel Macron relaxed labor laws on hiring and firing, transformed a wage tax credit scheme into a permanent drop in business tax and set a flat tax of 30% for investors as part a desire to make the French economy more attractive internationally.
A series of violent anti-government demonstrations against its reforms in 2018 and 2019, followed by weeks of transport strikes against a pension overhaul late last year and early this year have had little effect on the enthusiasm of foreign investors.
Since the coronavirus epidemic, the Macron government has refocused on controlling economic spinoffs and aims to accelerate the recovery by pushing French companies to relocate their production activities to France.
(Report by Leigh Thomas; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)