'Venez a Londres, mes amis': Boris Johnson woos steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal in India
Tuesday 27 November 2012
Boris Johnson waded in to the row between steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal and the French government today as he urged Indian businessmen to set up in the United Kingdom.
He called French industry minister Arnaud Montebourg, who accused Mr Mittal of leaving the country after he announced the closure of two blast furnaces in the north-eastern region of Florange, an "eccentric", telling an audience of businessmen in Delhi they should avoid "persecution" in Paris and base their European operations in London.
The row erupted after the socialist minister Mr Montebourg said ArcelorMittal - the world's biggest steelmaker owned by Mr Mittal - had shown a lack of respect to France.
"We don't want Mittal in France anymore because they haven't respected France," Mr Montebourg was quoted as saying in the business newspaper Les Echos. The trouble, he said, "isn't the furnaces in Florange, it's Mittal".
Mr Mittal has considerable business interests in France.
The comments were seized upon by Mr Johnson, who is on the third day of his six-day tour of India.
He told a meeting of businessmen in Delhi: "On a day when the sans-culottes appear to have captured the government in Paris and a French minister has been so eccentric as to call for a massive Indian investor to depart from France, I have no hesitation or embarrassment in saying to everyone here 'venez a Londres, mes amis'.
"Come to London, come to the business capital of the world, the place where 73 Indian firms are listed on the London Stock Exchange, where Indian companies already raise 53 per cent of their international equity, a city that has the largest banking and financial sector anywhere in the world, but which is at the cutting edge of all the great growth businesses of the 21st Century."
The sans culottes were a radical faction in the French Revolution.
Mr Johnson added: "I have a simple message for everyone here, our Indian friends. Following the demarche of Monsieur Montebourg, who is obviously cheesed off by what is happening in the eurozone, don't wait to be persecuted by the sans-culottes in Paris. Don't wait to be put in the tumbrels by the regime of Monsieur Hollande. Venez a Londres."
According to the Financial Times, sources close to Mr Mittal, one of the world's richest men, said he was "extremely shocked" by the attack against the company of which he is the main shareholder.
- 1 Raif Badawi, the Saudi Arabian blogger sentenced to 1,000 lashes, may now face death penalty
- 2 PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
- 3 Dakota Johnson's 'It's only Isis' Saturday Night Live sketch sparks controversy
- 4 Robert Mugabe eats a zoo for 'obscene' 91st birthday party
- 5 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how Corporation is funded
Raif Badawi, the Saudi Arabian blogger sentenced to 1,000 lashes, may now face death penalty
Someone has actually got a tattoo of that dress
PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
White and gold or blue and black – what colour is the dress? An eyewitness gives a definitive answer
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
Russia's roadmap for annexing eastern Ukraine 'leaked from Vladimir Putin's office'
Ukraine crisis: Top Chinese diplomat backs Putin and says West should 'abandon zero-sum mentality'
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This well established construction equipment d...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitm...
£7 - £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This high quality thread manufacturer ba...
£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...