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Archive for January, 2011

Bonjour Paris article: French & EU economy, Davos…

January 30th, 2011 No comments

I have an article covering a wide array of subjects in this week’s Bonjour Paris. This includes the French economy, Nicolas Sarkozy at Davos, Obama and the French, fashion week, gay marriage in France…You can read it here.

Grenoble student “pick your studies” night Feb. 11

January 28th, 2011 No comments

On Friday February 11 (5-11pm), the Chambre de Commerce et d’Industrie (CCI) de Grenoble will be hosting la Nuit de l’orientation. This will be an evening of informative sessions for students and parents alike to explore different educational options – middle school, high school, associate’s degrees, professional training schools, universities, business schools, etc. You can find much more here. Grenoble is a very expat-friendly city (I lived there 2 years and know it very well), so I’m sure parents will find it especially comforting to have an event like this. Enjoy the evening!

Expat Expo in Paris Feb 4-6

January 28th, 2011 No comments

This below from the Expat Expo website (English version. There are also 8 other languages, quite impressive). You have to register (and pay) to attend. How to get there. Enjoy!

The first edition of the event Expat Expo will be held on the 4th, 5th and 6th of February 2011 at the Parc Floral in Paris. Expat Expo caters for all expatriates in France whether they are executives or managers, pensioners, students, property owners or investors, but also those who are preparing for a future expatriation.

For executives and managers dealing with international mobility, EXPAT EXPO is an opportunity to meet and network with industry experts to improve your knowledge on key topics such as legal issues, tax and social expatriation… Relocation agencies, banks, insurance companies, schools, tax consultants, recruitment companies, estate agencies… are waiting at EXPAT EXPO to offer you advice, information and services to aid your expatriation experience.

For existing expatriates, the fair is an opportunity to explore new opportunities and plan new projects. Travel, sport, culture, social life, investment, education, shopping… Visitors to the show will find everything they need to fully enjoy their new life.

Financial Times “Business in France” special features Lyon, others

January 27th, 2011 1 comment

Perusing the Financial Times, I came across a business special on France that features articles on Lyon as a growing business center, Lille and other subjects of interest (project for Paris Silicon Valley, technology sector, etc).

You can download the PDF here. I’ve also made it available here, in case FT takes it down or there is a technical website problem.

Some excerpts below are taken from the article about the city I hold dear, Lyon.

Thriving business region that is answer to Rhineland: Good transport and skills are a draw, says Ross Tieman

A great location in the Rhône valley, where it acts as a gateway between France and central and southern Europe, has underpinned Lyon’s prosperity ever since the Romans marched in 2,000 years ago.

But in recent centuries, technology took over the relay, with hydroelectric power contributing to a regional heritage of chemicals, pharmaceuticals and manufacturing. The city preserved its charms, however. Now classified as a Unesco world heritage site, it sustains a vibrant culture that extends from a renowned opera company to contemporary music and the kitchen of chef Paul Bocuse.

Lyon’s high-speed train connections to Paris and Marseille, and location on France’s main north-south motorway make it an attractive location for both business and pleasureseekers.

Back-office operations for financial services and logistics are important contributors to France’s second-largest regional economy. Yet to think of Lyon as a city is to miss the point. With a population of 1.7m it is the heart of a business region that is France’s answer to the Rhineland, and which, with 10,000 researchers, spends as much on innovation as Finland or Denmark….

American Clubs of France Newsletter #20

January 24th, 2011 No comments

This latest edition of expat networking events throughout France in some cases goes until June, but mostly covers February and March. You can see the PDF here. As always, you can subscribe to the newsletter at their website.

I’d like to personally highlight an event organized for this Wednesday Jan. 26th at 7:30pm at the American Library of Paris. It is organized by the Notre Dame Alumni Club of France (including myself), a talk with award-winning author and journalist William Pfaff (Notre Dame ’49). Alumni from Notre Dame and other schools are invited. You can learn more here. Cheers!

The benefits of raising expat kids

January 24th, 2011 7 comments

This is a reflective article published on Expatica.com recently by a former expat mom. What are your experiences raising children abroad?
Do you have “third-culture children”? Excerpts below.

Why expat life was good for my kids

Nervous a child’s life abroad might lead to problems as an adult? Relax, blogger Maria Foley tells how expatriating her family brought positive character to her kids.

“…Raising kids is a crap shoot: you do your best, but there are no guarantees they’ll turn out well. Throw in a parenting choice that’s the slightest bit unconventional — moving to another country with your children, for example — and you’d better steel yourself for the self-doubt and parental angst that’s coming your way.

It’s a rare expat parent who doesn’t have at least one major crisis of conscience over the decision to uproot their children and replant them on foreign soil. I wrestled with the bad-mommy demon countless times.

Halfway through third grade we moved to France, and all her old fears and insecurities came back with a vengeance. The first day of school was a disaster.

Soon, though, she began once again to shed her old skin and become someone new. She made friends in both languages, and surprised us all by becoming the best French speaker in the family. There was no school bus in Bordeaux, so she conquered the transit system instead. Most amazingly, she began to perform, taking part in piano recitals and the school talent show.

“I love living in France,” she said.

Exposure to different cultures has endowed them with remarkable maturity, adaptability, a sense of independence, and an open-minded approach to life — not to mention top-notch language, social, and cross-cultural skills…

New poll finds the French “world champs” of pessimism

January 19th, 2011 3 comments

I enjoy living in France, but it is true that even the French make fun of their complaining as the national pastime. This article comes from Expatica (Anne – Laure Mondesert / AFP / Expatica) and speaks in depth about the poll. Excerpts below. I do have friends who are optimistic, driven and talented, but in my experience here, there is definitely a collective malaise. Cheer up, you have it very good compared to many others!

French are world champs in pessimism
A poll completed early this month shows the French even more pessimistic than violent-ridden countries around the globe, but what’s their reasoning?

Paris –The French live in one of the richest and safest countries in the world, yet they are global champions of pessimism, fearful of the future and longing for the past, according to a survey published early January.

“The French are afraid. They feel the present is less good than the past and that the future will be worse than the present, and that their children’s lives will be harder than their own,” said commentator Dominique Moisi.

“There is a morosity, a real phenomenon of clinical depression,” said Moisi, the author of the 2009 book “Geopolitics of Emotion: How Cultures of Fear, Humiliation, and Hope are Reshaping the World.” Moisi was sceptical about the BVA-Gallup poll published that suggested that the French were more pessimistic than people in Afghanistan or Iraqi who daily face high levels of violence.

But he conceded that it had some substance. He and other commentators said several factors were to blame. France’s comparatively generous welfare state is no longer perceived as sufficiently protective in the face of the ongoing economic crisis here, they said.

“The French behave towards the state like teenagers with their parents. On the one hand they rebel, but on the other they want ever more protection,” said Moisi. French pessimism is nothing new. The French are Europe’s biggest consumer of anti-depressants. But their gloomy tendencies have been made worse by rising unemployment and a tense social context that in recent months has seen millions take to the streets to protest raising the retirement age from 60 to 62…

He said that it was above all the middle classes who were being affected by pessimism. They see their jobs as becoming less and less secure and fear their quality of life will be reduced. “The French are sensualists, epicureans… and we are seeing a discrepancy between the little individual joys and the collective malaise,” said Delevoye….

…The BVA-Gallup poll described the French as the “world champions of pessimism.” It found that 61 percent of French thought that 2011 would bring economic difficulties, compared to an average of 28 percent in the 53 countries surveyed. Sixty-seven percent believed unemployment would rise again this year, a more pessimistic view than than in every country except Britian — 74 percent — and Pakistan — 72 per cent. Thirty-seven percent of French people polled said this year would be worse than 2010, making them considerably less optimistic than Afghans — 14 percent or Iraqis — 12 percent. Anne – Laure Mondesert / AFP / Expatica

New birth abroad consular rules to start January 18

January 17th, 2011 1 comment

This message from the US Embassy in Paris…

U.S. Embassy, Paris

Redesigned Consular Report of Birth Abroad

(Upgrade of Systems: January 1 to January 18, 2011)

The Department of State is pleased to announce the introduction of a redesigned Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA, or Form FS-240). The redesigned CRBA, which is an official record confirming that a child born abroad to a U.S. citizen parent or parents acquired U.S. citizenship at birth and serves as proof of citizenship, has been updated with a variety of state-of-the-art security features to help prevent fraud and identity theft.

Beginning January 18, 2011, overseas posts will still document the citizenship of children born overseas to U.S.-citizen parents, but the CRBAs will be printed at our passport agencies in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and New Orleans, Louisiana, using the information provided by overseas posts. By centralizing production and eliminating the distribution of controlled blank stock throughout the world, we will help ensure uniform quality and lessen the possibility of fraud.

Additionally, the Department will no longer issue the DS-1350 Certification of Report of Birth Abroad. Instead, the Department will simply provide new FS-240s in response to requests for additional, replacement, or amended CRBAs.

In order to upgrade our systems for this change, the Consular Section of the Embassy in Paris is suspending CRBA adjudication from January 1 through January 18, 2011. CRBA applications submitted during that time will be adjudicated after January 18.

***

For details on consular services, births abroad, you may refer to the Embassy website page: Birth of U.S. Citizen Abroad.

United States Embassy
American Citizen Services Unit
4, avenue Gabriel
75382 Paris Cedex 08
France
Telephone in France: 01 43 12 22 22
Telephone from U.S.: (011 33) 1 43 12 22 22
Website: http://france.usembassy.gov
E-mail: citizeninfo@state.gov

SMART TRAVELER ENROLLMENT PROGRAM (STEP) If you are going to live or visit France, please take the time to tell our Embassy (and/or Consulate) about your trip. If you enroll, we can keep you up to date with important safety and security announcements. It will also help your friends and family get in touch with you in an emergency. Here’s the link to the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (https://travelregistration.state.gov/ibrs/ui/).

Country Specific Information is available for every country of the world. These pages include such information as location of the U.S. embassy or consulate in the subject country, unusual immigration practices, health conditions, minor political disturbances, unusual currency and entry regulations, crime and security information, and drug penalties. We strongly encourage visitors and persons residing in France to refer to the U.S. Department of State Country Specific Information Sheet for France and Monaco at the following webpage: http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1116.html.

Your U.S. Passport
Remember to renew your passport and your children’s passports in a timely manner for departure from France. It takes at least 14 business days to receive a new passport, and you may need to schedule an appointment with our office, so plan ahead if you are traveling soon. Information on passport services is available on our website at http://france.usembassy.gov/passports.html. Important note: the Immigration and Nationality Act (U.S. C. 1185 (b) requires that U.S. citizens enter and depart the United States on U.S. passports.

This email is UNCLASSIFIED.

Bonjour Paris: end of French 35 hour work week?

January 16th, 2011 2 comments

This week’s Bonjour Paris features an article by me. Check out Bonjour Paris, a great resource.

The End of the 35-hour Work Week in France?
By Michael Barrett

French politicians from across the political spectrum are debating whether or not to change the law on the 35-hour work week even though most people work longer than that. Whether or not it happens, there will be heated discourse.

Ask someone outside of France what they think of French workers, and the majority of the responses will most likely involve strikes, protests and perhaps some “bossnappings”. This satirical article is just an example.

But, another aspect is the 35-hour work week that became law in 2000 during the presidency of Jacques Chirac and the government of Socialist Lionel Jospin (Prime Minister at the time). Proposed by Martine Aubry (current Socialist Party head, Lille Mayor and potential 2012 presidential candidate), the idea is based on the belief that by decreasing the number of hours worked, there would be more room for new hires.

Although France has one of the most productive workforces in the world, its competiveness as a place to do business is less than stellar. (There is an interesting comparison between France and the US here). It has had mixed results.

This could be explained by several factors (also depending on political opinion and sources), but certainly the 35-hour work week could be considered as a divisive issue. One of the most remarkable calls for its repeal came from Socialist Manuel Valls, who France 24 (in an excellent article) rightly calls “a maverick”.

This has lead to loud criticism of him in his party for going against the grain and criticizing a staple policy from when Socialists held governing powers. Valls thinks the policy undermines French competitiveness in the world economy.

Now the conservative UMP party (that of President Nicolas Sarkozy) has called for a debate on the 35-hour work week. But Sarkozy so far has refused repealing it in the short-term.

This topic will certainly be contested during the next year until the 2012 elections. Stay tuned for the news.

Michael Barrett is a communications consultant, freelance translator and English teacher. He writes a must-read blog for expats called American Expat In France.

“Creating prosperity through global trade” Paris event Jan. 25

January 14th, 2011 No comments

Power Networking is organizing a great event Tuesday January 25 at 7pm at Le Secret Paris (16 Avenue de Friedland 75008)

It is a talk by Daniel E. Harris (Minister Counselor for Commercial Affairs – Embassy of the United States of America). You can register and find more information at this website.

This promises to be a very interesting event and opportunity to hear a top US official while networking and learning more about business.

More details below. Happy Networking!

POWER NETWORKING PRESENTS:

“CREATING PROSPERITY THROUGH GLOBAL TRADE”
Daniel E. Harris, Minister Counselor for Commercial Affairs – Embassy of the United States of America

TUESDAY, JANUARY 25, 2011 – 7:00PM

Location: Le Secret Paris, 16 Avenue de Friedland, 75008 Paris (01.53.53.02.02): MAP

REGISTRATION: €40 (€20 for members)

BUSINESS NETWORKING RECEPTION – Cocktails and Amuse Bouche will be served.

As Senior commercial Officer, Daniel Harris serves as the chief of the Commercial Section and the senior representative of the U.S. Department of Commerce in France. Learn how the U.S. Commercial Service can help you:

-do business in France
-increase your sales to new global markets
-get introduced to qualified buyers and distributors

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