The Economist has a feature this week about the growing French expatriate population in the Greater London area: 400,000 and counting, according to some estimates, with cultural, economic and social implications that go along with such a presence. In fact, the French Parliament will soon have a new constituency to represent French citizens in Britain and Northern Europe.
It turns out that in interviews with expats, some of the reasons for the flock include: high-paying job opportunities, lower income and corporate taxes, a chance to raise one’s children bilingual and, perhaps most importantly, a different “international feel” about London that many French do not find in London. Excerpts below.
What do you think of this article? Do you think France is less business-friendly than the UK, and what do you think should be done to encourage entrepreneurship, innovation, lower taxes and more business-friendly policies conducive to private enterprise and investment? Is President Sarkozy on the right track?
The French community in London
The French influx to London suggests what governments can and can’t do to boost their cities’ allure
“…French Londoners are often in their prime. The archetype is a banker with children at the Lycée Français in South Kensington, the established hub of the community (“the 17th arrondissement”), who misses the food and weather of home. The City, a bigger financial centre than Paris, is keen on French workers, especially traders—products of an educational system that turns out mathematics whizzes in droves. It is rational interests, rather than cultural affinity, that draw this type of Frenchman to London: high-paid work, lower taxes (especially on wealth), and the chance to raise bilingual children…
…The superior beauty and efficiency of Paris often come at the price of dynamism. Many young French arrivals in London say they are fleeing rigid social codes, hierarchical corporate culture and a sense of distance from the global swirl of people and ideas. “It is hard to go back once you have tasted the internationalism here,” says Jessica Moyal, who works in private equity.
French twenty-somethings see London as a “gateway to globalisation”, agrees Édouard Braine, the French consul-general, who compares the ritual sojourns in the city taken by his younger compatriots to the globe-trotting gap years favoured by their British peers. Not all secure high-flying jobs: many come to study, or to work as au pairs or waiters while perfecting their English, or to find a niche in London’s huge creative industries. Many young French of African or Arab origin also say that there is less discrimination in Britain….
….Far more likely to pull talented French people back home than Britain’s economic doldrums is the prospect of France becoming more business-friendly. Nicolas Sarkozy is chipping away at taxes and regulations, and wants Paris to expand through private-sector development. That sort of thing is within the gift of politicians. But replicating the loose, globalised way of life in London—the anything-goes culture that draws a certain kind of young French person—will be much harder.”
I read this on The Economist travel blog, Gulliver, and it should not come as that big of a surprise (though there seems to be an increasing number of affordable accommodation options). The original study is linked to below, and I have boldfaced Paris’ ranking. Make sure to check out my travel links section.
Russian alpha beds
Feb 16th 2011, 12:02 by A.B.
MOSCOW still has the most expensive hotel rooms of any city in the world, according to the latest annual survey (PDF) by Hogg Robinson Group (HRG). The average price of a bed in the Russian capital declined over the course of 2010 by 3% when measured in pounds (12% in roubles) to £258.67, yet keeps the city in the top slot for a sixth successive year.
Abu Dhabi, which was behind Moscow last year, plunged to 19th place, mirroring Dubai’s fall in the previous year, and for much the same reason of soaring supply. As a result New York moved up to second place with rates of £211.92, an increase of 3% on 2009.
The biggest increases were seen in Australian cities, with costs in Sydney and Brisbane soaring by 21% and 32% respectively. The report attributed to this to a strengthening of Australia’s dollar and its resource-rich economy. And it was a recovery in the financial sector that helped London avoid the downward trend shown elsewhere in Europe. Instead, its average rate rose 3% to £156.91, though this was still only enough to place it 29th out of 75 cities, below the likes of Istanbul, Johannesburg and Mumbai.
Most expensive cities:
1. Moscow £258.67
2. New York City £211.92
3. Geneva £203.42
4. Paris £200.90
5. Zurich £198.58
6. Washington, DC £193.12
7. Hong Kong £191.24
8. Stockholm £189.30
9. Doha £183.54
10. Riyadh £175.82
I originally received this news from the Association France Etats-Unis Grenoble, a great networking group for expats in Grenoble.
The American School of Grenoble (ASG), in the Europole district, is an institute where children can receive an American education from 6th to 12th grade. Founded in 1993, they have recently been granted its international accreditation by the “Council of International Schools”. You can read the press release here.
You can read more about the G20 meeting of Finance Ministers in Paris in Le Point (in French). The Financial Times also covers the story (if you can’t read story on 1st try because of subscription matters, you can google the article title and usually find an accessible version).
Because of this meeting, the Paris public transport network, RATP, is foreseeing disruptions, including the complete closing of Boulevard Bercy in the 12ème arrondissement from 6am to 7pm on Feb. 19. More information is below from the RATP site. Metro is not affected, but you will see that numerous bus lines will be. Check back at RATP for updates.
A noter, samedi 19 février, trois manifestations sur la voie publique :
1 – De 06h00 à 19h00, fermeture du boulevard de Bercy à la suite de la réunion des ministres des finances du G20.
Lignes de Bus concernées : 24 et 87.
2 – A partir de 13h30, rassemblement au niveau de la station de métro Château Rouge, puis défilé par les boulevards Barbès et Magenta jusqu’à la place de la République où est prévue la dislocation du cortège.
Lignes de Bus concernées : 20, 26, 30, 31, 32, 38, 39, 42, 43, 47, 48, 54, 56, 65, 75 et 85.
3 – A partir de 14h00, rassemblement statique place de la République.
Lignes de Bus concernées : 20, 56, 65 et 75.
The CGPME (Confédération Générale des Petites et Moyennes Entreprises) is a business interest group in France representing entrepreneurs and directors of start-ups and SME (small and medium enterprises). They have proposed 60 ideas to simplify business operations for SME’s in France. They cover administrative, hiring, accounting, financing, etc. You can download the PDF (in French) on their site, under the PDF logo “en savoir plus”. The opening remarks below state that for the French economy, simplifying administrative procedures for SME’s is an important factor and that by rendering regulatory and business law texts more easily accessible and user-friendly, this would help French SME’s to become more productive and competitive not only at home but also abroad.
Jeudi 17 février 2011
60 propositions de la CGPME
Les dispositifs de simplification administrative représentent des enjeux majeurs pour notre économie.
En permettant une meilleure lisibilité et compréhension des réglementations, en améliorant la transparence de l’administration, ils simplifient le contexte dans lequel les entreprises exercent leur activité : une réglementation administrative mal conçue et obsolète peut décourager la création d’entreprise, entraver l’innovation et dresser des obstacles rendant les entreprises moins compétitives au plan international.
The American Library in Paris is a great resource not only for documentation, books and media but also for several events per month. You can see the latest schedule here, including a celebration of Tennessee Williams’ life, book-readings, film presentations and much more. You can see contact and address information for the library here.
According to Stratégies magazine (which specializes in media, communication and marketing), the French TV channel W9 broadcast of the US Superbowl attracted a record 300,000 people. Considering the game was on live at local time midnight through 3am (Sunday into Monday) that American football is not a popular sport in France (and given the smaller population base in France), this is quite remarkable and a was over a 30% increase from last year’s game. Original article below in French.
Le Super Bowl attire 300 000 téléspectateurs sur W9
La finale du championnat de football américain, le Super Bowl, a été suivie par 300 000 personnes sur W9, dans la nuit de dimanche 6 à lundi 7 février, entre minuit et 3 heures du matin, soit 100 000 personnes de plus que l’an passé. La chaîne a réalisé une part d’audience de 8,6% sur les individus de 4 ans et plus et de 17,4% sur les hommes de moins de 50 ans. Des scores comparables à ceux que réalisait France 2 précédemment.
Allez allez ! Turning out to be an eventful Six Nations rugby tournament. France defeated Scotland despite being the smaller team. The Wall Street Journal covers this story here. Excerpts below.
SPORTS FEBRUARY 7, 2011
French Scrum Too Fast for Scots
Europe’s Six Nations rugby series opens with a sharp lesson that big is not always best
For all the talk it inspires about gameplans and guile, international rugby union is still basically a game of brute force.
No matter how complex the offensive schemes or strategies in today’s game, it’s no secret that the final outcome usually hinges on the fearsome tangle for possession between 16 hulking giants known as the scrum.
“It’s like playing cards—the scrum is the ace in the game,” said Didier Retière, the France assistant coach.
This fundamental principle helps to explain the unusual approach adopted by Scotland head coach Andy Robinson for Saturday’s opening round of the Six Nations, the annual joust between Europe’s leading rugby countries.
Seeking to end a 12-year losing streak against France in Paris, Mr. Robinson assembled the biggest, toughest, strongest players he could find and sent them on to the field with one specific goal: To hammer the opposition scrum.
On paper, the resulting confrontation was a mismatch. Scotland started the game with the biggest eight-man pack in the history of this sport: Four Scottish players weighed 115 kilos or more and the entire group tipped the scales at 900 kilos. It wasn’t just their weight that stood out either—Nathan Hines, at 6ft 7in, was merely the third tallest member of the pack.
It meant that when the two teams lined up before the kick-off at the Stade de France, the Scottish forwards dwarfed their opponents: On average, the France pack was more than six kilos lighter and three inches shorter. But what happened next was nothing short of extradorinary. The undersized French forwards didn’t just hold up against the Scottish, they dominated them, paving the way for a 34-21 victory that wasn’t as close as the scoreline suggests. The official match statistics show that Scotland lost just one set scrum, but in reality France laid waste to the Scottish pack, repeatedly forcing the Scots to collapse the scrum and incur a penalty….