chapter  7
19 Pages



France is among the countries characterized by an above-average signifi cance of large companies (Table 2.1). In particular, this holds true for the big multinationals. France outperforms the other countries of the EU-15 in terms of the number as well as the employment of these companies: In 2003, the country had 75 companies, with a total of more than 5.6 million employees among Europe’s largest 500 businesses. In the same year Europe’s single largest business in terms of employees, Carrefour, also originated in France. This outstanding weight of very large fi rms refl ects the long-term efforts of French industrial policy to promote and shield its leading fi rms as international champions (e.g. Cawson 1994).