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Coca-Cola defends 'French way' in row with US tycoon - FRANCE - FRANCE 24

The CEO of Coca-Cola Enterprises, the largest non-alcoholic beverage manufacturer in France, has waded into a transatlantic row between France's Industrial Renewal Minister Arnaud Montebourg and US tyre tycoon Maurice Taylor, who claimed that French workers were too expensive and only worked three hours a day. 

Tristan Farabet, who heads Coca-Cola's French operations, appeared to defend Montebourg, telling the minister in a letter that the soft drink giant "was happy to invest in France, for over 90 years".

"[Coca-Cola] hopes to more actively promote the attractiveness of the French territory to foreign companies," Farabet wrote, making direct reference to a verbal dispute that began last week.

Minister rejects anti-France `falsehoods' - FT.com

But brandishing a stack of economic data to support his claims of France's attractiveness to foreign money, as well as a letter of support from the boss of Coca-Cola's French operations, Mr Montebourg says: "It is important that the press sticks to the facts because it is the press that is read by investors. And if you look at the facts, they speak for themselves."

He cites a survey carried by Ernst & Young last year that listed France as the most attractive country in Europe to foreign industrial investors, outstripping even the UK. The ratio of foreign investment to GDP, he points out, was 39 per cent in France last year, according to the UN Conference on Trade and Development, compared with 23 per cent in the US and 20 per cent in Germany.

by Bernard on Wed Feb 27th, 2013 at 12:44:38 PM EST

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