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OPINION

France, Europe’s financial centre: Sacré bleu!

France is looking to contest England’s supremacy in the financial world by challenging London’s claim to be Europe’s financial centre.

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Christine Lagarde, the French foreign minister, wants to promote Paris as a financial services hub and chip away at London’s dominance. She recently told reporters that she wanted to emulate the entrepreneurial dynamism of the City of London better to exploit the competitive DNA that exists in Paris.

All fine words but she might want to coordinate her efforts with her peers in France’s transport ministry. As London-based bankers (and the odd hack) flooded into Paris to enjoy the rugby World Cup final, striking transport workers brought the city almost to a standstill. Not the best advert for Lagarde’s high-flying ambitions, you would think, especially since Nicolas Sarkozy floated the idea of taxing stock options more heavily to pay for social protection measures.

London’s up-market estate agents and car dealerships need not get too concerned just yet...

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