The vultures are circling: EU states eye up London's finance crown

The vultures are circling: EU states eye up London's finance crown

As states across Europe eye up London's business riches and tout their EU-friendly fintech credentials, German centre-right political party Freie Demokraten is taking a cheekily direct approach, driving a giant billboard truck into the heart of the capital emblazoned with an invite for Brexit-scarred startups to move to Berlin.

The colourful truck, daubed with the message 'Dear startups, keep calm and move to Berlin', has been spotted driving around London's Silicon Roundabout.

The FDP has been actively promoting the campaign on Twitter.

The pitch comes as Cornelia Yzer, Berlin’s economics minister, says her department has received “dozens of emails” in the past week from companies based in London considering a relocation to the German capital.

Germany is not alone in looking to lure fintech businesses away from London. Taavet Hinrikus co-founder of London-based Unicorn transferWise says he has been fielding calls from other nation states ever since the Referendum results came in.
In France, the head of the Paris regional government has written a letter to 4000 business executive extolling the virtues of a location in the heart of Europe.

In an interview with local press, Valerie Pecresse, the head of the agency said: “We’re urging British business to think about what’s next, move on and come to Europe. Let’s not be naive: This is a competition and others also want these jobs.”

Ireland, too, is also eyeing the spoils, promoting its progressive tax regime, proximity to London, and shared language traits. Martin Shanahan, the chief exectuive of IDA Ireland, says the state development agency is planning an advertising blitz over the coming months.

Says Shanahan: “Similarities between Ireland and the U.K. and attributes such as being English speaking, a common law system and geographic proximity means that Ireland will be the first choice for many companies that require a base within the EU."

VC firm Index Ventures offers this post-Brexit advice to aspiring startups: "London was previously the obvious choice for a European base - and it may still be for many startups. However, we advise that you also consider other locations, such as Dublin, Amsterdam and Berlin and remain nimble enough to switch locations if better choice becomes apparent."

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