"The France of 2016 is much more innovative than it was 10 or even 5 years ago."
Newly appointed to Matignon, Bernard Cazeneuve made his first visit to Lyon. The Prime Minister paid heartfelt tribute to the Lyons Metropolis, singling out the "promotion of heritage, and the artistic and economic creation embodied in the Fête des Lumières, which highlights the city in the eyes of the world at large, far beyond its borders".
He also praised the commitment shown by the public actors who worked to create the Metropolis of Lyon in the context of the territorial reform. Since 1 January 2015, the Metropolis has exercised all of Greater Lyon’s competences across its territory: those of the département along with the complementary competences exercised by municipalities. "By creating the first metropolis resulting from the MAPTAM law, by merging the département’s and agglomeration’s competences within a single entity, you have paved the way for a France that is reforming itself and a France that is modernizing", he stated, addressing the Mayor, Gérard Collomb.
An economic policy fostering innovation and investment
After visiting the Bioaster Technology Research Institute, Bernard Cazeneuve detailed the main economic measures implemented since the start of the five-year term to improve companies’ competitiveness. With the Pacte de responsabilité et de solidarité (PRS – Responsibility and Solidarity Pact) and the Crédit d’impôt compétitivité emploi (CICE – tax credit for encouraging competitiveness and jobs), almost 40 billion euros have been earmarked for companies. Initiatives that have led to "an hourly labor cost in industry lower than is the case in Germany", Bernard Cazeneuve explained.
They have been complemented by measures aimed at supporting investment and job creation. Among them, the provision of aid to SMEs has met with “remarkable success, with close to a million recruitments”, the Prime Minister specified. In parallel, by April 2017, the "extra-depreciation" scheme will be applicable to all investments made, in order to encourage companies to invest, and create growth and more jobs by doing so.
As regards company taxation, reduction of corporate tax to 28%, as provided for in the 2017 Finance Bill, will be applicable as from next year. It will initially prioritize SMEs, and “will gradually be extended to all companies over the course of the coming years", the Prime Minister stated. The Labour Law has also ensured that companies enjoy “greater security and visibility” and their employees “more rights to training".
France, Europe’s second startup capital
The economic policy introduced by the Government is starting to bear fruit. Bernard Cazeneuve was pleased to note that France is now "Europe’s second startup capital, with a billion euros mobilized for risk capital".
A range of measures is also helping to improve France’s attractiveness yet further: the Talent Passport, the French Tech Ticket program, and the tax scheme provided for in the Finance Bill and applicable to qualified expatriates (8 years as against the present 5) are all designed to encourage foreign entrepreneurs to locate in France.
The Prime Minister ended his trip by launching the Fête des Lumières, alongside Gérard Collomb and Prince Albert II of Monaco.