Chicago -- A McDonald's official says the international fast-food chain plans to open 240 new locations across Europe this year.
McDonald's Europe President Denis Hennequin said despite the economic malaise encompassing most of the world, McDonald's is looking to expand in Europe with the new sites and their corresponding 12,000 new jobs, Financial Times reported Saturday.
"We're certainly not slowing down," Hennequin said Friday.
McDonald's executives said escalating food prices have made fast-food a viable alternative for families worldwide.
The proposed European restaurants and jobs would mark the largest attempt by McDonald's to expand in Europe in the last five years.
The Times said in 2003, the fast-food chain made a concerted effort to improve sales at existing McDonald's locations worldwide.
Hennequin said the new European McDonald's would be focused primarily in France, Italy, Poland, Russia and Spain.
Copyright 2009 by United Press International.