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BREXIT

Brexit to create 3,500 finance jobs in Paris, says French lobby group

Britain's moves towards exiting the European Union are already expected to create some 3,500 finance and banking jobs in Paris as leading players in the sector move their operations out of London, an industry group said on Wednesday.

Brexit to create 3,500 finance jobs in Paris, says French lobby group

The figure “is much higher than the direct job transfers to other European financial capitals,” Gerard Mestrallet, president of the lobby group Paris Europlace, said at the opening of the group's annual conference.

The US asset management giant Blackrock and the bank Citigroup are among the companies planning to move some activities to Paris, according to British media reports.

On top of an estimated 3,500 jobs seen as likely so far, the transfers could generate an additional 20,000 indirect jobs in the French capital, said Mestrallet.

He attributed the shifts to Paris to labour law overhauls and other measures taken by President Emmanuel Macron, a former Rothschild investment banker who is pushing to make France more attractive to foreign investors.

“We've made more progress in the past two years in Paris than over the previous 13 years,” he said, citing in particular the end of a wealth tax on financial assets and a new flat tax on capital income, including dividends and interest payouts.

London has long been Europe's top financial centre, and analysts have predicted a wave of job transfers to the continent by banks and insurance companies as Britain prepares to leave the union in March 2019.

Leading companies in other sectors have also warned they might move operations out of the country, including Airbus, BMW and Siemens.

Paris has several rivals for the post-Brexit business, including Frankfurt, Amsterdam and Dublin.

Last Month French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire denied that Paris is trying to make the most of Brexit and take thousands of jobs from the UK. He also sounded the alarm bell for the ongoing negotiations saying, “time is running out”.

Le Maire tried to rubbish the idea that France was openly trying to take advantage of Brexit to boost Paris at the expense of London.

“We don't have a predatory vision when it comes to Brexit,” Le Maire told The Local and other members of the Anglo American Press Association in Paris on Monday.

“It's not about taking jobs from the UK, it's about (making France) more attractive – all in the framework of fair competition,” he said.

“I repeat: we don't have a predatory vision, it's not about making London lose out so Paris can gain. It's just about making Paris more attractive,” he said.

READ ALSO: 'We're not Brexit predators': France says it's not stealing jobs from UK

'We're not Brexit predators': France denies it is trying to steal jobs from UK

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TRAVEL NEWS

‘We will be ready’ vows France, amid fears of UK border chaos

Transport bosses have raised fears of long queues in British ports when the EU's new EES system comes into effect next year, but French border officials insist they will be ready to implement the new extra checks.

'We will be ready' vows France, amid fears of UK border chaos

The EU’s new EES system comes into effect in 2023 and many people – including the boss of the Port of Dover and the former UK ambassador to France – have raised concerns that the extra checks will lead to travel chaos on the UK-France border, and see a repeat of the long queues experienced last summer.

Port of Dover CEO Doug Bannister told The Local that he feared “tailbacks out of the port and throughout Kent” because the new system could take up to 10 minutes to process a car with four passengers, as opposed to 90 seconds currently.

EXPLAINED What the EES system means for travel to France in 2023

But French border control have insisted that they will be ready, replying to questions from the European Commission with “Oui, La France sera prête” (yes, France will be ready).

French officials said they had already undertaken extension preparation and would begin test runs of the new system in French border posts at the end of this year.

document shared recently by the secretariat of the EU Council (the EU institution representing member states) and published by Statewatch, a non-profit organisation that monitors civil liberties, shows how countries are preparing. 

“France has prepared very actively and will be on schedule for an EES implementation in compliance with the EU regulation,” French authorities say.

“The French authorities have carried out numerous studies and analyses, in cooperation with infrastructure managers, to map passenger flows at each border crossing post… and evaluate the EES impact on waiting times,” the document says. 

However, despite the preparation, the French admit that long waits at the border remain a worry, adding: “the prospect of the impact of EES on waiting times at the borders worries infrastructure managers. The fact remains that fluidity remains a concern, and that exchanges are continuing with each border post manager to make progress on this point.”

The EES system is due to come into effect in May 2023 and will be applied at all EU external borders – find full details on how it works HERE.

However there has been particular concern about the France-UK border due to three things; the high volume of traffic (in total over 60 million passengers cross the border each year); the fact that many travel by car on ferries and the Eurotunnel (while the EES system seems more designed with foot passengers in mind); and the Le Touquet agreement which means that French border control agents work in the British ports of Dover and Folkestone and at London St Pancras station.

EES is essentially a more thorough passport checking process with passengers required to provide biometric information including fingerprints and facial scans – border checks will therefore take longer per passenger, and this could have a big effect at busy crossing points like Dover.

The UK’s former ambassador to France, Lord Ricketts, told The Local: “I think the EES, in particular, will be massively disruptive at the Channel ports.”

The EU consultation documents also revealed more details of how EES will work on a practical level for car passengers – those travelling by ferry or Eurotunnel to France – with border agents set to use computer tablets to gather biometric information like fingerprints so that passengers don’t have to get out of their cars.

READ ALSO France to use iPads to check biometric data of passengers from UK

Doug Bannister added that Dover agents were “awaiting an invitation” to France to see how the new systems will work. 

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