French President Emmanuel Macron will urge a visiting group of top Silicon Valley venture capitalists this week to invest in the nation's start-ups while calling on them not to "steal" the best creations, four sources told Reuters.
The discreet event, not mentioned in Macron's official schedule, comes at a tough time for the French leader after rioters looted and ransacked boutiques and businesses in central Paris, chaotic images beamed around the world.
Executives from some of the biggest names in U.S. tech funding, including Andreessen Horowitz, Sequoia Capital and General Atlantic, are among the 40 expected in Paris on Wednesday and Thursday for a tour of the French startup scene.
Egypt, France begin war games in Red Sea
Egypt and France began a joint military drill in the Red Sea on Sunday, according to the Egyptian military.In a statement, the army said naval forces from both countries carried out a naval training in the Red Sea with the participation of a French warship and a number of Egyptian navy vessels.“The military exercise aims to enhance the combat capability of both countries to deal with naval threats, including the protection of important shipments and counter-terrorism,” the statement said.The Red Sea is a strategic route for the Gulf oil to Europe and the U.S. through Egypt's Suez Canal.Last month, the Egyptian army conducted joint naval exercises with French military forces in the northern Mediterranean Sea.In February and March, both countries conducted three separate joint naval exercises in the Red Sea and the Mediterranean.Ever since President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi assumed power in June of 2014, Cairo and Paris have signed a range of arms deals, making France -- alongside the U.S. and Russia -- one of Egypt’s main sources for weapons.
The two-day roadshow includes presentations from what sources called tech 'superstars' already investing in France as well as visits to hubs such as the Station F tech incubator in eastern Paris.
But instead of simply urging them to invest in France, Macron, who is scheduled to host the investors at the Elysee palace on Thursday evening, will also tell the U.S. funds to help French businesses to flourish rather than pushing the best French entrepreneurs to move to the United States.
"Today, many French companies raise money in the U.S., and the usual reflex of U.S venture capitalists is to tell them: 'come to the United States then'," a source at Macron's office told Reuters.
France's Macron learns the hard way: green taxes carry political risks
When Emmanuel Macron rose to power, he put the environment at the heart of his agenda. Eighteen months later, anger over those policies has stoked protests that are a huge challenge for the French president.Rioters torched cars and buildings in central Paris on Saturday following two weeks of protests caused partly by higher fuel taxes which Macron says are needed to fight climate change. Some protesters called for him to resign.Macron's plight illustrates a conundrum: How do political leaders' introduce policies that will do long-term good for the environment without inflicting extra costs on voters that may damage their chances of re-election?It is a question facing leaders across the world as delegates hold talks in the Polish city of Katowice this week to try to produce a "rule book" to flesh out details of the 2015 Paris Agreement on fighting climate change."Clearly, countries where inequalities are the highest are the ones where these kinds of push-backs are mostly likely," Francois Gemenne, a specialist in environmental geopolitics at SciencesPo university in Paris, said of the political risks.Naming Italy, the United States and Britain as countries where environmental moves could risk a voter backlash, he said: "I guess it's one of the reasons why populist leaders tend to be very sceptical about climate change and environmental measures."The protests in France have inspired a similar movement in neighbouring Belgium, where protesters took to the streets on Friday.There have also been small-scale protests in Canada over Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's plan to impose a federal carbon tax on provinces unwilling to combat climate change.What was once widely seen by governments as a win-win transition to cleaner energies now looks more like causing short-term costs with huge social disruption, followed by possible long-run gains.Another challenge facing leaders is over how they use the proceeds from policies intended to help the environment: Should money raised from carbon taxes be used directly to combat climate change, or to plug holes in national accounts?French police clash with 'yellow vest' protesters in Paris, 122 arrestedCarbon TaxesMacron said after the latest protests in Paris that he would convene ministers to discuss the crisis on his return from a G20 summit in Argentina. Prime Minister Edouard Philippe cancelled plans to go to Katowice for the climate change summit.Macron introduced new carbon taxes to urge motorists to change behaviour and protect the environment.Macron has watered down some of his campaign pledges on the environment since he took office, and his popular environment minister quit in August over the sluggishness of progress. But he has shown little willingness to compromise in the face of the protests.The fuel tax is accompanied by other measures including incentives to encourage people to buy electric vehicles.Unveiling a medium-term energy plan for France last week, he held out an olive branch by saying he would review fuel prices each quarter, but said the carbon taxes would stay.His goal is for France to cut carbon emissions by 40 percent by 2030 and boost the use of cleaner energies at the same time. Emissions are currently rising and 75 percent of energy use in France originates from fossil fuels."When we talk about the actions of the nation in response to the challenges of climate change, we have to say that we have done little," he said.Macron has also said he will fight to try to save the Paris climate agreement, which aims to keep global temperature rises to between 1.5 and 2 degrees Celsius, a critical threshold.Scientists are increasingly concerned that countries are falling short on their targets and must be more ambitious. Yet citizens are worried about their immediate lives.French police brace for more violent protests over rising fuel costs"Policies Of Transition"In Canada, addressing the question of how governments use the money raised from carbon taxes, Trudeau's government has promised to return the money collected from the provinces directly to taxpayers.But in France most of the revenue generated will be used to tackle the national budget deficit, increasing anger at Macron, who left-wing opponents call the "president of the rich".Of the 34 billion euros ($38.71 billion) the French government will raise on fuel taxes in 2018, a sum of only 7.2 billion euros is earmarked for environmental measures.Simon Dalby, a specialist in the political economy of climate change at Wilfrid Laurier University in Canada, says carbon taxes should be part of wider measures to alter how people live, including better, greener transport and buildings."It is all about policies for transition to a post-fossil-fuel world, something that needs to be done quickly if the worst of the predicted climate disruptions are to be avoided in the coming decades," he said.Gemenne said the protests in France were unlikely to go away soon, and may emerge in other countries as they take more determined action on emissions.The danger, he said, was inaction, or acting too late to prevent global warming. At the same time, politicians need to be able to show they were acting fairly and equitably. Overturning Napoleon-era rights, France bans smacking kids
France's Macron visits Arc de Triomphe after Saturday Paris riots
French President Emmanuel Macron immediately went to the Arc de Triomphe after returning to Paris on Sunday from Argentina to assess the damage after rioters looted and defaced the famous landmark during a day of riots.TV images showed the inside of the monument ransacked with a statue of Marianne, a symbol of the French republic, smashed, and graffiti sprawled on the exterior ranging from anti-capitalist slogans to social demands.
"We will tell them: it's an ecosystem, your best interest is to do like in Britain and Israel: invest here and don't move everything (to the U.S.)," the source said.
The event was scheduled before the nationwide protests that turned the French capital into a battle zone and the format of Macron's appearance has yet to be finalised, sources said.
With his authority challenged by the "yellow vest" protesters, who sprawled anti-capitalist slogans on banks and luxury boutiques on Saturday, Macron has his work cut out to counter the damage done to France's image.
The French tech scene has seen a boom in recent years, helped by Macron's efforts to turn France into a "startup nation", as a new generation of tech-savvy entrepreneurs less interested in government careers tap into the large pool of engineers that France's top universities produce every year.
'Yellow vest' protests spread to Netherlands
The "yellow vest" protests spread to the Netherlands on Saturday as people staged anti-government protests in various cities.Responding to calls on social media, the protesters took to the streets in the cities of The Hague, Nijmegen, Maastricht, Alkmaar, Leeuwarden and Groningen.Some 200 protesters demonstrated in front of the parliament building in The Hague.Following police action some protesters left the venue while others demanded that they be let to walk around the parliament building.Some of them removed their yellow vests upon calls from the police.Police detained four protesters.The 'yellow vest' protests first started in France two weeks ago against a rise in fuel prices.On Friday, they also spread to Belgium.EU unemployment rate at 6.7 pct in OctoberUnilever CEO Polman to retire, replaced by beauty head Jope
Macron vows punishment for violent Paris protests
Perpetrators of the violence in ongoing protests in Paris will be punished, said French president Saturday.Speaking during a press conference of the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, Emmanuel Macron said that those who are responsible for the attack on police officers and vandalization of a monument in the capital will be "held responsible for their acts"."What happened in Paris today has nothing to do with the pacific expression of legitimate anger," he added.Thousands of "yellow vest" protesters have gathered in Paris for the last two weeks to protest Macron's controversial fuel tax.French police clash with 'yellow vest' protesters in Paris, 122 arrestedFrench police brace for more violent protests over rising fuel costsDuring Saturday's protests, the yellow vests entered the famous Champs-Elysées Street throwing stones and bottles at the police and setting public property ablaze. The president said he would not accept violence and was ready to negotiate legitimate demands from the protesters. Meeting with Saudi crown princeOn the meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Macron said he told him "we all want to reveal details of Khashoggi murder".Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist working for The Washington Post, was killed shortly after he entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2. After weeks of saying he had left the consulate alive, the Saudi administration later admitted he was killed there, blaming his death on a group of rogue Saudi operatives. Last week, France imposed a travel ban on 18 Saudi citizens over their suspected involvement in the killing of Khashoggi. Overturning Napoleon-era rights, France bans smacking kidsSaudi Crown Prince sidelined in G20 family photo
Macron aides say France's tech sector is poised to take advantage of Britain's planned exit from the EU to overtake its major European rival.
"We think the French ecosystem will outgrow the one in England in the coming years," is one of the messages the U.S. investors will hear, the Elysee source said. Goldman Sachs and private equity fund KKR are also among the attendees.
But French companies say the most promising startups need access to bigger funding rounds if they are to stay. Investments are not large enough to create "unicorns" worth more than $1 billion. So far this year, only two French firms have closed investment rounds of more than 100 million euros.
France to consider state of emergency to prevent riots recurring
France will consider imposing a state of emergency to prevent a recurrence of some of the worst civil unrest in more than a decade and urged peaceful protestors to come to the negotiating table, government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux said on Sunday. Groups of young men with faces masked, some carrying metal bars and axes, rioted on the streets of central Paris on Saturday, setting a dozen vehicles ablaze and torching buildings."We have to think about the measures that can be taken so that these incidents don't happen again," Griveaux told Europe 1 radio.Galeri: French police clash with protesters in ParisWhen asked about imposing a state of emergency, he said the president, prime minister and interior minister would discuss all options available to them at a meeting on Sunday.
French police clash with 'yellow vest' protesters in Paris, 122 arrested
Police fired tear gas, stun grenades and water cannon in battles with "yellow vest" protesters around the Champs Elysees in Paris on Saturday, marking the third weekend of demonstrations across France against high living costs.Police said 122 people had been arrested amid concerns that violent far-right and far-left groups were infiltrating the "yellow vests" movement, a spontaneous grassroots rebellion over the struggle of many in France to make ends meet.For more than two weeks, the "gilets jaunes" (yellow vests) have blocked roads in protests across France, posing one of the largest and most sustained challenges Emmanuel Macron has faced in his 18-month-old presidency.In Paris, masked and hooded protesters picked up and hurled crowd barriers and other projectiles in running battles with police around the world famous Champs Elysees boulevard.Six policemen and 14 protesters have been injured, Paris police said.Video: Riot police use teargas against yellow vest protesters in Paris"We are attached to dialogue, but also the respect for the law," Edouard Philippe told reporters. "I am shocked by the attacks on the symbols of France."Several hundred yellow vests sat down around the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier under the Arc de Triomphe at the top of the avenue, singing La Marseillaise, France's national anthem, and chanting, "Macron Resign!"On the facade of the towering 19th-century arch, protesters scrawled in big black letters: "The yellow vests will triumph."After several hours of skirmishes in the morning, police had appeared to clear the area around the Arc, but rioters and peaceful protesters subsequently returned. Clashes in adjacent streets also broke out where barricades were put up, car windows were smashed and at least two vehicles set alight.Along the Champs Elysees, peaceful demonstrators held up a slogan reading, "Macron, stop treating us like idiots!"Galeri: Protests against high fuel prices cripple ParisMACRON WON'T BE BOUNCED BY "THUGS"Macron said on Tuesday he understood the anger felt by voters outside France's big cities over the squeeze that fuel prices have put on households, but insisted he would not be bounced into changing policy by "thugs".Philippe said across France there were some 36,000 protesters and 5,500 in Paris. Police unions said there were 582 road blockages in France. Nantes airport in western France was briefly closed after protesters reached the tarmac.A week ago thousands of protesters, who have no leader and have largely organised themselves online, converged on Paris for the first time, turning the Champs Elysees into a battle zone as they clashed with police firing tear gas and water cannon."What message do the yellow vests want to pass today? That we set France on fire, or find solutions? I find this (violence) absurd," Jacline Mouraud, a prominent activist within the yellow vests movement, told BFM television.Galeri: French police clash with protesters in ParisBut a retired yellow-vest protester said: "The government is not listening. Revolution cannot happen without violence."The outburst of anger is strongest on the outskirts of smaller provincial towns and villages, and underlines the gap between metropolitan elites and working class voters that has boosted anti-establishment politics across the Western world.The immediate trigger for the protest wave was Macron's decision to raise tax on diesel fuel in a move to encourage the driving of less-polluting cars.The yellow vests, who enjoy widespread public support, get their name from the high-visibility jackets all motorists in France must carry in their vehicles.When they began, the protests caught Macron off-guard just as he was trying to counter a fall in his popularity rating to 30 percent. His unyielding response has exposed him to charges of being out of touch with ordinary people.
Instead, successful French startups get snapped up by U.S. rivals, with social mapping firm Zenly's acquisition by SnapChat last year particularly riling the French tech scene.
Investors on the two-day visit will tour Station F, a startup campus funded by telecoms billionaire Xavier Niel. They will meet entrepreneurs such as David Gurle, boss of U.S. encrypted messaging service Symphony, who moved its research centre to a technology park in southeastern France.
Among other U.S. tech figures who have chosen to relocate to France and who will make pitches are Tony Fadell, a developer of Apple's iPhone, and Ian Rogers, a former executive at its media player iTunes, now chief digital officer of luxury group LVMH.
French police brace for more violent protests over rising fuel costs
French authorities have drafted thousands of additional police officers into Paris ahead of a third demonstration on Saturday by protesters angry at high fuel prices as security officials warned of renewed violence.For more than two weeks, the "yellow vests" have blocked roads across France in a spontaneous, popular rebellion against diesel tax hikes and the high cost of living. It has grown into one of the largest and most stubborn challenges Emmanuel Macron has faced in his 18-month-old presidency.A week ago thousands of protesters, who have no leader and have largely organised themselves online, converged on Paris for the first time, turning the Champs Elysees into a battlezone as they clashed with police firing tear gas and water canon."We're worried that small groups of rioters that aren't yellow vests will infiltrate (the demonstration) to fight security forces and challenge the authority of the state," said Denis Jacob, Secretary General of the Alternative Police union."Given the high level of security around the Champs the fear is thugs will go to other places," he said.Officials said they expected some 5,000 police and gendarmes in Paris, up from about 3,000 last Saturday. Another 5,000 will be deployed across the country for other yellow vests protests.Workmen erected metal barriers and plywood boards on the glass-fronted facades of restaurants and boutiques lining Paris' most famous avenue on Friday. The Champs Elysees will be closed to traffic and pedestrians will be funnelled through checkpoints."There's a lot of incitement on social media and we are expecting excess and violence," David Michaux of the UNSA Police union told Reuters, adding that far-right and far-left groups were expected.Three protests are officially planned across Paris on Saturday, including the "yellow vests", a union protest against unemployment and a separate demonstration against racism.For now, the "yellow vests" -- who take their name from the high-visibility jackets all motorists in France must carry in their vehicles -- enjoy widespread public support.When they began, the protests caught Macron off-guard just as he was trying to counter a plunge in popularity, with his approval at barely 20 percent. His unyielding response has exposed him to charges of being out of touch with ordinary people.
Macron, Abe to discuss Renault-Nissan at G20 as feud brews
French President Emmanuel Macron will discuss the Renault-Nissan alliance's future with Japan's prime minister at the G20 summit in Argentina on Friday, seeking to defuse a brewing diplomatic row over the balance of power inside the partnership.The auto alliance is facing the biggest test of its 19-year existence after the ousting of Nissan Motor Co Chairman Carlos Ghosn, who was arrested last week for suspected financial misconduct.Tokyo authorities on Friday approved the maximum 10-day extension of Ghosn's detention, Japanese media said. Prosecutors have to file charges against Ghosn, 64, by Dec. 10 or arrest him on suspicion of fresh crimes to keep him in custody.Tokyo prosecutors declined to comment. Nissan did not immediately respond to a request for comment.Tokyo authorities extend Ghosn's detention by 10 daysGhosn's detention in Tokyo has left the Franco-Japanese auto alliance without its leader and main interlocutor with the French government, which owns 15 percent of Renault and wants to maintain the current alliance capital structure.Renault controls Nissan through its 43.4 percent stake, while Nissan holds a reciprocal non-voting 15 percent stake in its French partner.BUENOS AIRES MEETINGAn official in the French presidency said Macron would discuss the alliance with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at midday in Buenos Aires, but gave no further details.Meeting in Paris last week, Japanese Industry Minister Hiroshige Seko and French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire reaffirmed the two countries' support for the alliance.A few days later, however, Le Maire said on French television that he and Seko had agreed that keeping the alliance's current capital structure was desirable - an agreement the Japanese minister denied making.Japan-France spat over Nissan-Renault brews as Ghosn remains jailedThe Mainichi Shimbun daily reported on Friday that Seko had sent a rare letter of protest to Le Maire for the remarks.Officials at Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said they could not immediately comment on the letter. A French finance ministry official said Le Maire's office had no comment.Le Maire's apparent faux pas drew some criticism from Renault staff representatives concerned for the alliance."The government should know their place and stay there," said a union official at the French carmaker. "This kind of overreaching may be counter-productive."Ghosn's arrest, including for allegedly under-reporting his income, has triggered new attempts by Nissan to shake off what it considers Renault's outsized control of it, adding to problems at Macron's Elysee.As economy minister, Macron had masterminded the French government's surprise increase of its Renault stake in 2015, raising alarm bells inside Nissan that the Elysee was out to wield more influence over the Japanese company.The auto alliance, which also includes Japan's Mitsubishi Motors Corp, for its part "emphatically reiterated" its commitment to the partnership on Thursday after executives met in Amsterdam for the first time since Ghosn's arrest.A review of the capital structure was not discussed at the meeting, Mitsubishi Motors' CEO Osamu Masuko said.