Competition for job-creating foreign direct investment (FDI) is brutal these days in the European Union. Although it used to be the world's biggest recipient of FDI, its global share has now fallen from almost 29 percent in 2011 to 17 percent in 2013, according to UNCTAD. With European investment subdued, banks reining in lending and economies struggling to grow, foreigners with fat wallets are more than usually needed. Even France has engaged this year in a charm offensive to lure them in. So a recent study suggesting that only 12 percent of American companies with operations in France rate it positively as an investment destination is ruffling feathers.
The European Union's top antitrust official has opened an investigation into the way countries including Ireland provide tax arrangements that enable big multinational corporations like Apple to reduce their tax bills worldwide.