“We were reminded that each company has the right to independently determine its strategy in the Russian market,” one of attendees at a meeting in the Elysee Palace, said on Saturday, as quoted by Le Figaro.
“The Minister of Economy and Finance Bruno Le Maire said that now it is better to pause business rather than to leave the country in a hurry unilaterally and without warning anyone,” the source added.
The reported quote from the French finance minister is in sharp contrast to his earlier statements regarding the issue.
“We are going to strike the Russian banks. We want to isolate Russia financially. We want to cut off all the links between Russia and the global financial system,” Le Maire said at a European Union finance ministers’ meeting on February 25.
Representatives of French corporate majors, including Societe Generale, Engie, Airbus, Safran, Arianespace, Thales, Eramet, Air Liquide, Danone and Auchan, were reportedly invited to attend the meeting on Friday evening.
According to the publication, none of the 15 French business majors operating in Russia have left the country so far.
Over the past week, a number of Western corporations have announced plans to quit the Russian market as a result of the sweeping sanctions introduced against the country over its invasion of Ukraine. Other businesses, including Swedish furniture seller IKEA and clothing brand H&M Group have temporarily closed stores and halted online sales in view of the latest events.
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