France recently announced that it would no longer compete to host the 2025 World Expo. The decision has been made public by Edouard Philippe, the French Prime Minister. In a letter addressed to Pascal Lamy, a former WTO President and actual delegate of the World Expo 2025 for France, Edouard Philippe explained that the current state of public finances was too fragile to absorb the risk.
The French government expressed concerns on the soundness of the project that was presented by ExpoFrance 2025, the government body responsible for the bid. In the best case scenario provided by the organization, 65 million visitors would come to Paris. More conservative scenarios were also on the table, in which 35 to 40 million visitors would come to Paris to participate to the World Expo 2025. Mr. Philippe, however, thought those targets were ‘’too ambitious’’. In comparison, 2015’s World Expo, in Milan, had 20 million visitors, half of France conservative scenario.
For the French government, the World Expo 2025 could prove to be a commercial risk. Mr. Philippe also pointed out the fact that there were too few partners from the private sector to help mitigate the risk.
With France pulling out of the World Expo 2025 bid, there are only three candidates left on the list: Ekaterinburg (Russia), Bakou (Azerbaïdjan), and Osaka (Japan). This is great news for Osaka, whose odds of winning the bid of the World Expo 2025 just made a significant leap.