France is being 'transformed' says French prime minister

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Édouard Philippe told the World Government Summit, known as the 'Davos of the Gulf', in Dubai that government's aim was to fix France.

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French prime minister Édouard Philippe boasted of his government's measures to attract foreign investors on Sunday during a three-visit to the United Arab Emirates, reports RFI.

Culture was a key weapon in his soft-power offensive to strengthen France's already strong ties to the Gulf monarchies.

"We are involved in a huge transformation and the aim of this transformation is to fix our country and prepare the future," Phlippe told the World Government Summit, known as the "Davos of the Gulf", in Dubai.

A key part of that process is to create a "favourable context for investment and for companies", he said, pointing to the "coherent, gradual, inevitable, irreversible reduction of the taxation that weighs on companies" and changes to labour law.

At 1.13 billion euros in 2015, the UAE is the second-largest Gulf investor in France after Qatar but Paris hopes it will put more money into productive industry, rather than property, which is its principal interest at the moment.

France is been seen positively in the region for more than just economic and cultural reasons, Moncef Cheikh Rouhou, of the HEC business school in Paris, told RFI.

President Emmanuel Macron's recent visit to Abu Dhabi set the tone for Paris's  aspiration to promote dialogue and peace in the region, he said, pointing to the French role in calming the crisis that followed Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s resignation, a move that many believe was made under pressure from Saudi Arabia.

Philippe will this weekend meet the heads of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) and Mubadala Investment Company, French government officials say.

Read more of this report from RFI.

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