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Date TimeOctober 20, 2017
VoiceFRENCH politicians and business leaders have hosted an event in London with the aim of using Brexit as a catalyst to “seduce” UK employers and lure them to France, it has been reported.

French envoy attempt to seduce British businesses and exploit UK industry Brexit fears

More than 250 businesses operating in the UK were entertained by hundreds of regional politicians and business leaders from the Hauts-de-France region.
The event, called “Link Lille,” was organised by the Grand Lille Committee.
Among the British businesses invited were reportedly senior figures from Ernst & Young, KPMG and Morgan Stanley.
The event included speeches which expressed the benefits of “closer ties” and a two-hour networking session where British and French business representatives exchanged numbers and details.
The French delegation included the Republican president of the Hauts-de-France region Xavier Bertrand, the Socialist party mayor of Lille Martine Aubry and president of the Link Lille committee Jean-Pierre Letartre.
In a regional newspaper column published before the event, Mr Letartre claimed the purpose of the event was to “seduce England”.
However, Mr Bertrand has downplayed suggestions that the French consortium were trying to lure businesses away from the UK.
He said: ”It is for businesses to decide, I am not asking them to leave the UK.
"I am telling them, we are the only region [in France] to propose a win-win strategy.
"For British companies who want to continue to work with Europe from Europe, the closet Europe is the Hauts-de-France region.
"It's not an aggressive strategy, it's a win-win strategy for the UK and France.

French envoy attempt to seduce British businesses and exploit UK industry Brexit fears

"We have lots of strengths - the physical location to build on is cheaper. The buildings are a lot cheaper than elsewhere.
"Lille-Londres, it's a lot quicker than London to Manchester, with two hubs - St Pancras and Lille Europe, without forgetting Dover and Calais."
Mr Bertrand also expressed his desire for the Brexit process to lead to a “good deal” and for Europe not to “turn its back on the UK”.
He added: "I hope it is still possible for Europe, France and the UK. We have to be clever to allow fluidity for people and trucks.



"My obsession is business, because business, that is people.
"I want to be the spokesman for good relations between France and the UK.
"Naturally, continental Europe to turn its back on the UK, I do not want this situation.
"I am conscious Brexit is difficult but I think it is an opportunity to strengthen those relations."

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