France Most Attractive Destination for FDI Projects for the Fourth Consecutive Year

Published: 12 May 2023

The EY France Attractiveness Survey has been published. This annual report identifies foreign direct investment projects in Europe and analyzes how decision-makers consider France, measuring real and perceived attractiveness, and comparing France with other European front runners.

For the fourth consecutive year, France confirmed its top position in Europe, with 1,259 investment projects recorded in 2022. In second and third position, the United Kingdom attracted 929 projects, followed by Germany with 832. While France continues to experience an increase in foreign investments, its main competitors (Germany and the UK) are observing a decline.

These results and the country's overall nurturing business environment have been confirmed by the 2022 Annual Report: Foreign Investment in France (issued by Business France and also published today). France has been focusing and reinforcing fundamental assets for a successful implantation on its soil: ready-to-use industrial land, a recognized pool of talents, and the "France 2030" investment plan, which aims to support a rapid transformation of the economy.

"Despite a complex international context, France demonstrates day after day that it is a large, open, dynamic and innovative economy. Since 2019, France has been ranked first in Europe for hosting foreign investment projects. Our stable economic and regulatory environment, which is resolutely pro-business, promotes the confidence of foreign investors in our country," said Laurent Saint-Martin, Chief Executive Officer of Business France.

"On a global scale, France has confirmed the momentum initiated in 2017 in terms of attractiveness, but also innovation. Research and development operations occupy an important place in the French economy, which hosts one in five R&D investments made in Europe by foreign investors. Each year, global tech and industry giants strengthen their presence in France, benefitting the transformation of our economy. The rapid deployment of the "France 2030" plan announced in October 2021 illustrates France's ability to remain a major industrial, innovative and daring nation that knows how to anticipate current and future transformations," says Pascal Cagni, Chairman of the Board, Business France and Ambassador for International Investments.

Once again, France remains the most attractive European country for manufacturing companies, with 547 projects identified (i.e. one in four projects in France dedicated to re-industrialization in 2022, compared with less than one-third in 2016). The "France 2030" investment plan, dedicated to the most innovative industries, and in which foreign investors can really find foothold, is rapidly becoming a major factor of attractiveness for the country.

Re-industrialization remains at the forefront for France, with a specific focus on net-zero, decarbonization, semi-conductors, healthcare, or even decarbonized aircraft and electric vehicles. The latter secured 30% of foreign direct investment in the automotive industry last year, compared to 12% in 2018.

France maintains its position as European innovation champion. A total of 144 research and development center projects were recorded in 2022 (an increase of 8% compared to 2021), ahead of the United Kingdom and Germany. France is recognized worldwide as a land of innovation, with 64% of foreign investors considering it to be more attractive than any other European country when it comes to technology.

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