Macron Unveils Small-Business Reforms and Privatizations

Reforms are meant to make it easier for French companies to grow and export.

Austrian chancellor Christian Kern and French president Emmanuel Macron visit Salzburg, August 23, 2017
Austrian chancellor Christian Kern and French president Emmanuel Macron visit Salzburg, August 23, 2017 (BKA/Andy Wenzel)

French president Emmanuel Macron has unveiled new economic reforms benefiting small- and medium-sized businesses:

  • Streamlining bankruptcy procedures.
  • Easing auditing requirements.
  • Advising companies on digitalization and exports.
  • Lifting the thresholds at which higher tax and social charges as well as employment rules kick in.

Reasons for the reforms

The Financial Times reports that many small companies are reluctant to hire above certain numbers because each threshold comes with onerous additional requirements. The new law would reduce the staff thresholds to three: eleven, fifty and 250.

Another reason for the reforms is that France has only half the number of small businesses as neighboring Germany and they export far less.

Privatizations

The same law provides the legal basis for the French government to sell shares in:

  • ADP, the airport operator;
  • Engie, the energy utility; and
  • Française des Jeux, the state gaming monopoly.

The French state will still own, or partially own, postal services, railways and telecommunications. Because the country never embarked on a program of mass privatization, one in five French workers are employed either by the state or a state-owned enterprise.