Mr. Hempel, what has been your experience in Paris in the past few months?
The Corona period wasn’t an easy time for me and certainly most other people in France, as freedom of movement was very restricted. Families, in particular, struggled to cope with simultaneous home office and home schooling.
What are France’s economic prospects in the wake of this difficult time?
It’s not yet clear how France will deal with the corona crisis economically, even though the French government is trying to cushion the blow to companies financially. There is a trend towards a permanent increase in the importance of the digital economy (for example, edtech, online trading, etc.) and the health sector (digital health, strengthening local production, investing in research). French companies are strong in these areas and see Germany as their most important European market and a stable partner that has withstood the Corona crisis relatively well.
You started working at GTAI Paris as an investor recruiter last year, before the pandemic outbreak. What were your impressions in those first months?
Markus Hempel: I was really surprised at how much France had changed in recent years. You could feel a completely new dynamic here. This was partly due to the government, which was on a drive to reform. The economy gained new confidence as a result, and businesses were expanding beyond French borders. There was a great interest in Germany, for example. The first few months were also very exciting personally. I saw Paris from a completely different vantage point with my four children.