An entourage of British tech businesses is set to meet with French President Emmanuel Macron to thrash out post-Brexit deals. Macron is seeking fresh deals regarding innovation and collaboration between the two countries regarding tech companies.
Transferwise founder and tech investor Taavet Hinrikus and Monzo founder Tom Blomfield are among a delegation of 50 entrepreneurs from startups with a combined worth of more than £5 billion. Macron will be joined by French Prime Minister Edouard Phillipe as well as a number of French tech founders and investors.
"Close relations with Europe have always been important to companies such as ours. Not only because it’s a huge market on our doorstep but also because of the access to talent it offers," said Hinrikus. "A thriving tech ecosystem in Europe is good for the economic growth of the every country in the region. In light of Brexit, it is even more important to work with together with the rest of Europe.”
The latest round of talks comes a month after French economy minister Benjamin Griveaux met with London tech companies in the UK. The French President has long promised to make France a world leader in the tech arena, transforming the nation into a ‘country of unicorns’ (startups valued at more than $1 billion). In recent months, France has introduced a new tech visa scheme and Macron has also vowed to reform labour laws to help tech startups get off the ground.
Speaking earlier this week, Macron said that the UK needed to clarify three issues before France agreed to any post-Brexit agreements. Responding to Prime Minister Theresa May’s recent speech, Macron noted ‘progress and openings’ but said more needed clearing up.
“The signals sent by the British Prime Minister show a will", he told the French press. "Before we move forward, we want to clarify matters concerning the settlement of European citizens, the financial terms of exit and the question of Ireland. If these three points are not clarified, we will not be able to advance on the rest."