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France would ‘roll out red carpet’ for UK investors

If the UK votes to leave the European Union, France would be ready to "roll out the red carpet" for British firms looking to stay within Europe, France's economy minister has said, echoing the British PM's promise to do the same for French firms escaping the tax man.

France would 'roll out red carpet' for UK investors
France says it would love to have any British investors who flee the country if the UK leaves the EU. Photo: Carl Court/AFP

France is ready to "roll out the red carpet" to British investors if Britain opted to leave the EU, French Economy Minister Arnaud Montebourg said Tuesday, after eurosceptic party UKIP topped the poll in European elections in Britain.

"If they were to vote to leave the EU, France will roll out the red carpet to British investors who will flee their country. They will all come to France because companies need Europe," Montebourg told MetroNews freesheet.

His remarks were a riposte to British Prime Minister David Cameron, who angered France's Socialist government in 2012 when he said that Britain would roll out the red carpet to French tax exiles.

The UK Independence Party (UKIP) — which wants to pull Britain out of the European Union — won last week's European elections, pushing Cameron's party into third place.

Cameron said the outcome showed voters' "deep disillusionment" with the European Union and proved he was right to pledge to put Britain's membership to a referendum.

France's President François Hollande has meanwhile called for the EU to scale back its role, after his party too, took a beating in the polls.

His Socialist Party registered a record low vote of just under 14 percent while the far-right National Front topped the polls with nearly a quarter of the vote.

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BUSINESS

French court hands Amazon €90,000-per-day fine over contracts

French authorities on Wednesday slapped a €90,000-per-day fine on e-commerce giant Amazon until it removes abusive clauses in its contracts with businesses using its platform to sell their goods.

French court hands Amazon €90,000-per-day fine over contracts

The anti-fraud Direction générale de la concurrence, de la consommation et de la répression des fraudes (DGCCRF) service said the online sales giant’s contracts with third-party sellers who use its Amazon.fr website contain “unbalanced” clauses.

“The company Amazon Services Europe did not comply completely with an injunction it was served and it is now subject to a fine of €90,000 per day of delay” in applying the changes, the DGCCRF said in a statement.

It also urged the platform to conform with European rules on equity and transparency for firms using online platforms.

Amazon said the order would harm consumers.

“The changes imposed by the DGCCRF will stop us from effectively protecting consumers and permit bad actors to set excessive prices or spam our clients with commercial offers,” the e-commerce giant said in a statement.

“We will comply with the DGCCRF’s decision but we absolutely do not understand it and we are challenging it in court,” responded the e-commerce giant in a statement.

Amazon said the clauses that the DGCCRF has ordered removed had, for example “prevented the appearance of exorbitant prices for mask and hydroalcoholic gel during the pandemic”.

In 2019, Amazon was fined €4 million for “manifestly unbalanced” contract clauses with third-party sellers on its site in a case brought by the DGCCRF.

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