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19 February 2013

French state aids to entrepreneurship too complex

"Too numerous and too expensive," that is how the Audit Court (Cour des Comptes) assessed public subsidies to entrepreneurship in France in its annual report published 14 February. The Court pointed at the proliferation of support schemes funded by central and local governments, for an estimated cost of 2.7 billion euros in 2011, of which 80% comes from direct aids ($ 2.1 billion) mainly through the activation of unemployment spending. Indirect aid consists mainly of tax incentives for investment in venture capital (0.3 billion excluding tax exemptions). In this patchwork, the auditors point to "the lack of an overall strategy" and suggest to designate a responsible inter-ministerial coordinating agency. The PACE (Agency for entrepreneurship), which currently supports this mission should be restructured, otherwise "the question of maintenance of this body would be asked." The authors also recommend that reform involve regional prefects for a decentralized approach, as has been tested in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais, Picardy and Lorraine regions. For a summary, see the Court's own summary (30 pages) or Les Echos article online.

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