In 2021, France attracted a record number of foreign investment projects, up 24% versus 2020, and remained the leading recipient in Europe of job-creating foreign investment for the third year in a row, according to the EY France Attractiveness Survey published on May 31, 2022.

France widened the gap with its main competitors: the United Kingdom posted a modest increase of 2% in its projects, while Germany saw its number of projects fall by 10%.

In 2021, foreign investment created 44,751 jobs in France, a sharp increase and in line with the figures presented in Business France’s Annual Report: Foreign investment in France.

In the rankings of French regions, Ile de France (Paris region) kept the lead, ahead of Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, Grand Est, Hauts de France and Occitanie. All the other regions were on the increase. French regions occupied four of the top five places in Europe for the establishment or expansion of industrial plants.

London held onto first place as the most attractive city but is losing momentum (34% of executives classified it as the most attractive city, compared with 43% in 2021), while Paris is progressing strongly (28% in 2022, versus 18% in 2021).

France was once again this year the leading European economy for industrial investment, (+41%), as well as for R&D projects.

Foreign executives confirmed their confidence in European economies and France in particular. Nevertheless, the war in Ukraine has had a significant impact on their perception.

Sixty-one percent of foreign investors considered France to be more attractive than other countries in terms of technological factors, while 50% planned to increase their R&D activities in France over the next three years. Fifty-six percent of foreign executives surveyed by EY intended to establish or expand their operations in France over the coming year, up from 44% in 2021 and 16% in 2020.

Forty-six percent of executives surveyed believed that the French recovery plan is more effective than that in other countries. 63% of executives believed that France and Europe will improve their attractiveness within three years. A significant drop in this rate was observed following the start of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict.

The five development priorities put forward by foreign businesses for France were: support for innovation, reduction of taxation, improvement of the quality of its products, access to skills and adaptation of regulations to technological breakthroughs.

For further information, read the Facts and Figures.