Nokia CEO Rajeev Suri held a meeting with France’s president Francoise Hollande to reaffirm the company’s “strong involvement in the development of the technology ecosystem in France”, as its €15.6 billion deal to acquire Alcatel-Lucent nears completion.

The meeting, which included France’s minister of economy Emmanuel Macron and Marc Rouanne, who will serve as chief innovation and operating officer of the combined entity, follows the recent launch of Nokia’s public exchange offer for Alcatel-Lucent securities.

In a statement, Nokia said President Hollande renewed his support for the proposed tie-up with French vendor Alcatel-Lucent, with the deal expected to complete in the first quarter of 2016.

The President said: “The involvement of Nokia in the French digital ecosystem is fully consistent with our strategy to develop new economic opportunities, by mobilising and leveraging the innovation and research capabilities of France.”

To get the deal pushed through French regulation, Nokia has said it will throw its weight behind Alcatel-Lucent’s Shift Plan, pledging to maintain employment in the country for the next two years. It will also look to fuel employment in the country’s R&D sector.

Following the meeting, Nokia also reiterated its commitment to creating a €100 million investment fund dedicated to investing in start-ups and innovation in IoT, cyber security and software platform enablers for next-generation networks.

French values
Addressing the recent terrorist attacks to hit the country’s capital Paris, Suri said “the values of France are far stronger than those who pose a threat to the country, and I could see that in the resolve and determination of the President”.

“Nokia will not just be a larger part of the technology ecosystem in the country in the future, but a larger presence in France overall,” he added.