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UK entrepreneurs should not pull their money out France but the country needs to reform its labour market laws to help businesses, says the head of the Institute of Directors

Simon Walker, director general of the IoD, told IBTimes UK he has a house in France and "loves" the country, but warned that France needs to relax its rules on the labour market.

"There are many entrepreneurs in France, but businesses should fight for the de-regulation of labour markets," he said.

"France is protectionist and protectionism needs to be fought. But it is wrong to think that there aren't entrepreneurs and believers in free-market reforms in France. There are some, but I'm afraid their governments don't help them."

When IBTimes UK asked Walker what he thought about investing in struggling eurozone countries, like Spain and Portugal , he urged the UK business community to "not give up hope".

"There are people in the eurozone who are fighting for free markets and one of the reasons why I want the UK to stay in the European Union is to give a lead on economic freedom."

The comments come after Andy Street, the managing director of employee owned retailer John Lewis, said that France was "finished".

He also told The Times that the country was "sclerotic, hopeless and downbeat" and recommended that British entrepreneurs to pull their investments out of France "quickly".

He added: "I have never been to a country more ill at ease...nothing works and worse, nobody cares about it."

But a spokesperson from John Lewis said the executive's remarks were "tongue in cheek and not meant to be taken seriously".

In addition, Walker said that Street's comments would not be damaging for UK firms looking to trade in France.

"Business people with strong views have often expressed opinions about other countries, and that's fine," the IoD director general said.

France, once of Europe's largest economies, is struggling to in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis.

However, under President François Hollande. the International Monetary Fund said France is expected to see its gross domestic product to jump to £1.79tn (€2.3tn, $2.9tn) this year.

In contract, the IMF forecast that the UK's GDP will reach £1.76tn.