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European American Chamber of Commerce event in Lyon 4/16

The European American Chamber of Commerce, Lyon chapter, is a part of a network organization that facilitates business and best practices between the US and France. It has chapters in Paris, Lyon, Boston, Cincinnati, New Jersey, New York and a partner in Italy.

They hold conferences and events on business-related topics. On April 16th, they’ll be holding a talk on ETI size companies. The event details are below. RSVP required.

Happy networking!

EACC & KPMG present:

Focus on ETIs,
Intermediate sized companies

Europe counts over 30,000 ETIs – an intermediate category between small and medium enterprises and large companies, more than 3,000 of which are in France, where they are considered to be an essential driver of economic growth.

Speaker: Sara Righenzi de Villers, Expert comptable Commissaire aux Comptes, KPMG

Who are they?
How do they resist the effects of the current economic crisis?
What are their challenges?
What are their key growth drivers?

Tuesday 16 April 2013
from 6:30pm to 8:30pm

KPMG, 51 rue de St Cyr 69009 LYON

6:30pm to 7:00pm – Welcome cocktail
7:00pm to 8:00pm – Presentation and Q&A
8:00pm to 8:30pm – Networking cocktail

The Euro-trip is still “a rite of passage”

I loved this BBC News look into interrailing around Europe (from a British perspective). I know that as a student in Angers, France from 2004 to 2005, and since then, I’ve been able to visit many countries in Europe. But the Angers year was more akin to backpacking with friends and staying in hostels. There is excitement, new discoveries, self-reflection, learning about new cultures and languages, accompanied by the occasional logistic problem, cultural barrier, perhaps pickpockets…but it’s all part of the adventure.

If you’re lucky enough to do it, go for it.

This particular article talks about the differences (modern technology, nicer hostels, the Euro…) that have changed backpacking today…but much remains the same. My favorite passage is below. What are your experiences in traveling Europe this way?

“…The essence of an interrailer is constant, Matthias Schwender, who runs an independent hostel in Prague, said to me.

“Someone who is independent-minded, that can connect to other people, that is culturally aware, wants to learn about new cultures and cities, they want to know where the locals go. They know the value of taking some time off in your life for travelling.”

Another interrailer, Titi, argued that you learn about Europe’s tumultuous history by being there, understanding what happened, rather than reading about it in books.

Comparing the Europe and US debt crises

The Economist has an insightful commentary on both debt crises. Excerpt below.

Both the US and the European Union have public finances that are out of control and political systems that are too dysfunctional to fix the problem,” Mr Rachman writes. I have some quibbles about the way he frames the economic issues as a generalised problem of “an unsustainable and dangerous boom in credit”, viz homeowner credit in America and the overdrawn borrowing of Greece and Italy in Europe. This seems to smooth over a lot of differences a bit too easily; the American housing bubble was fueled by CDOs, but the economic problems in Europe aren’t about an asset bubble caused by Greek or Italian government borrowing, and to the extent that the problems are due not to asset bubbles but to financial interconnectedness, the interconnectedness caused by private-sector issuance of CDOs and CDSs isn’t really the same as the interconnectedness caused by the adoption of the euro across 17 countries.

Christine Lagarde elected head of IMF: American reaction

BBC/AFP: Christine Lagarde will start her five-year term at the IMF on 5 July

As former French Finance Minister has been named IMF head, effective July 5th, and François Baroin has been named her replacement, Le Figaro has an interesting article on Christine Lagarde from an American perspective, as well as a longer article into her path that lead her to Washington.

Meanwhile, she appeared in 2009 on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Check it out here.

Paris RER traffic to be slow Friday May 13th

I guess Friday the 13th is bad luck at times….

Just to give you a heads up, there will be some disruptions on the Paris RER suburban lines this Friday (metro, bus, and tram lines should not be affected).

Below you’ll see a notice from the Paris public transport service RATP. You can read an article in French about the demonstrations here.

Good luck!

Trafic normal sur l’ensemble des lignes RATP et Transilien SNCF.
A noter, vendredi 13 mai, une manifestation sur la voie publique, pour plus d’infos, cliquer sur Manifestations.

Prévisions à 24 heures pour le vendredi 13 mai 2011 :
A la suite des préavis des syndicats CGT, FO, SUD, et UNSA pour la journée du vendredi 13 mai, la RATP prévoit un trafic :

Métro : Trafic normal.
Le service sera renforcé sur les lignes 1, 4, 6 et 14 du métro.

RER A zone RATP : 1 train sur 4.
Interconnexion maintenue à Nanterre-Préfecture.
La SNCF prévoit 1 train sur 2 entre Nanterre-Préfecture et Cergy / Poissy.

RER B zone RATP :
La RATP prévoit 1 train toutes les demi-heures aux heures de pointe
entre Denfert-Rochereau et Saint-Rémy-lès-Chevreuse / Robinson.
Tous les trains auront pour départ et terminus Denfert-Rochereau.
L’interconnexion à Gare du Nord avec la SNCF ne sera pas assurée.
La SNCF prévoit 1 train sur 2 entre Gare du Nord et Aéroport Charles de Gaulle / Mitry-Claye.

Bus et Tramway : Trafic normal.

Communiqué de presse version PDF, cliquer ici.

La RATP met à la disposition de ses voyageurs
un numéro vert : 0 800 15 11 11 et pour les téléphones mobiles : wap.ratp.fr

Japan nuclear risks and European worries about nuclear power

As BBC News reports, the current nuclear risks (and potential meltdown disaster) in Japan has brought public fears about nuclear power to the forefront of debate in several European countries, including France and Germany. Some political parties, including the Europe Ecologie, want to hold a referendum (public vote) on nuclear power in France.

Conservative daily Figaro has a poll on this issue, to which, at the time of publication, over 73% of French said there should NOT be a referendum on the issue. As the BBC highlights below, logistically speaking, it is nearly impossible to imagine France getting rid of its reliance on nuclear power, as 75% of its energy comes from it (with 19 nuclear plants and 58 reactors making it the 2nd biggest network after the US). Figaro also has an article about the risks of nuclear power.

French liberal, gauche daily Libération has an in-depth feature on this question, with a map of France’s nuclear installations that I’ve pasted below.

The French government has indeed said it wants to “learn lessons” from this case to optimize the security of France’s nuclear installations, which government officials assure have little risk.

What do YOU think?

BBC excerpts:

“…France gets 75% of its energy from nuclear power, exporting the excess and earning useful currency by so doing. In addition, some in government want to sell French reactors to emerging economies. Greenpeace immediately called for a reversal of this nuclear policy which France embraced in the 1970s after the “oil shock” when the price of oil jumped. The group Sortir du Nucleaire protested by the Eiffel Tower, unfurling banners saying “Nuclear is killing the future”.

Daniel Cohn-Bendit, who is a member of the European Parliament for the Green Party, told French radio that there should be a national referendum on the country’s dependence on nuclear power. “It begs the question of the need for civil nuclear power,” he said. “Is it not time to sound the alarm?” This is difficult for the government because France’s dependence is so great.

French rugby team defeats colossal Scotland (WSJ)

February 8th, 2011 No comments

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….

American University Clubs (AUC) of France June 2010 events

You can see a variety of events across the country (though mostly in Paris) from AUC France. The PDF of June can be downloaded here. Enjoy, and happy networking!

For British expats: London and Colonial launches EU SIPP for expats

November 17th, 2009 1 comment

London and Colonial launches EU SIPP for expats
International Investment| 16 Nov 2009 | 15:05
Author: Sitanta Ni Mathghamhna

London and Colonial has today announced the launch of the EU SIPP, for individuals resident outside the UK.

The EU SIPP is similar to UK SIPP but enables a wider range of investments including residential property in both the UK and EU, provided they are not used by either the SIPP member or a connected person.
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It allows for a tax free lump sum of 25% of the fund value to be taken from the age of 55, with the remainder providing income, which can be paid monthly, quarterly or annually. There is the additional option to receive ad hoc payments during the year.

The SIPP is primarily aimed at ex-patriot individuals who have been living outside the UK for five tax years or more.

Adam Wrench, Product Development Manager at London & Colonial, says: “When investors move abroad they typically leave their pension behind in the UK or transfer to a QROPS.

“Once they have been resident overseas for at least five tax years, transferring to the EU SIPP will give them more flexibility to manage their retirement options and to make provision for their dependents.”

The EU SIPP pays out 100% to beneficiaries on the member’s death, whereas in the UK, tax rules means up to 82% of an individual’s pension fund is lost on death, even if the member is a non UK resident at the time.

Adam Wrench adds “This provides the opportunity for estate planning to be undertaken knowing tax will not be automatically deducted from the pay-out.”

“Quite often where a husband and wife have emigrated together, in the event of the death of one of them the surviving spouse will return to the UK. With the EU SIPP the non-residency status of the scheme is locked in.”

Additional features of the scheme include no restrictions on borrowing either for the purchase of commercial or residential property or for other purposes, compared to a 50% restriction under UK SIPP rules.

World’s most prosperous nations are in Europe

November 11th, 2009 No comments


The latest Legatum Prosperity Index has been released, with the old continent once more coming out on top but there are signs of potential weakness in domestic security and governance.

London – The third edition of the Legatum Prosperity Index ranks 104 countries (covering 90 percent of the world’s population), based on a definition of prosperity that combines economic growth together with measures of happiness and quality of life.

Six of the top 10 countries in the 2009 Prosperity Index are located in Europe: Finland, Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, and the Netherlands.

“Once again, we see that Europe represents the highest concentration of the world’s most prosperous nations, thanks to an impressive blend of economic progress and good quality of life,” said Dr. William Inboden, Senior Vice President of the Legatum Institute.

“But behind the positive headlines,” continued Dr. Inboden, “the main centres of European population and economic growth are showing signs of potential weakness in important areas such as domestic security and governance. The Legatum Prosperity Index shows that Europe’s future prosperity will be assured by balancing economic progress and wellbeing, through pro-growth policies, strong social networks, strong public safety, and innovative and entrepreneurial citizens.”

Comparing European nations to the US, ranked 9th, the index finds that the United Kingdom (11th), Germany (14th), and France (17th) all trail the US in both economic measures as well as key quality of life measures.
The US outranks each of them on safety and security measures, which is somewhat surprising given public perceptions on the issue.

The UK lags behind the US in education and personal freedom, Germany in economic fundamentals and the impact of its government on economic growth, and France on social capital. All three countries turn in comparatively high ranks on entrepreneurship and innovation; with the UK ranking 2nd globally behind the US.

Key Findings from the 2009 Legatum Prosperity Index

• Northern Europe dominates the top five spots in the Index: Finland (1st), Sweden (3rd), Denmark (4th), and Norway (5th).

• Slovenia (20th), the Czech Republic (25th), Hungary (28th), and Poland (29th) constitute the Eastern European countries that made the top third of the Index. Slovenia was propelled to its position through its performance on education, security, and its government’s capacity for fostering economic growth. The Czech Republic achieved its final ranking by outscoring other Eastern European countries in personal freedom and its population’s overall physical health.

• Romania is the lowest ranked European Union country at 47th, and Belarus, at 85th, is the
lowest-ranked European nation overall.

• The current European Union candidate countries rank as follows: Croatia (35th), Macedonia (59th), and Turkey (69th).

• With only one exception, each of the top six nations ranks in the top 20 of all nine areas of prosperity. The remaining 4 countries in the top ten – Australia, Canada, the United States, and New Zealand – are all European heirs and generally enjoy similarly balanced top tier performance.
• Northern European nations, on average, perform better on measures related to quality of life than to economic wellbeing, and Eastern European nations perform better, without exception, on measures related to economic wellbeing than to quality of life.

• The top five most entrepreneurial and innovative countries in Europe are, in order of rank, the UK, Sweden, the Netherlands, Denmark, and Germany.

• The five European countries whose governments contribute the most to the overall life satisfaction of their citizens are, in order of rank, Denmark, Finland, Switzerland, Sweden, and Norway.

• The top five European countries ranked by overall performance in the Prosperity Index’s four economic sub-indexes, in order of rank, are Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Switzerland, and Belgium.

• All five of the top countries ranked by overall performance in the Prosperity Index’s five quality of life sub-indexes are in Europe. They are, in order of rank: Finland, Switzerland, Norway, Denmark, and Sweden.

• Four of the world’s largest 25 countries are located in Europe, excluding Turkey. In order of population size, they are: Germany (14th), France (17th), the U.K. (12th), and Italy (21st).

The Index identified nine key factors that drive economic growth and personal wellbeing, which are foundations of prosperity. Each of these nine factors is represented in a sub-index and a country’s final Prosperity Index ranking is generated by averaging its scores across all nine sub-indexes, equally weighted. More information on the Prosperity Index, including full country rankings, background on data and methodology, and profiles of each country can be found at www.prosperity.com/.
Top 20 countries

1. Finland
2. Switzerland
3. Sweden
4. Denmark
5. Norway
6. Australia
7. Canada
8. Netherlands
9. United States
10. New Zealand
11. Ireland
12. United Kingdom
13. Belgium
14. Germany
15. Austria
16. Japan
17. France
18. Hong Kong
19. Spain
20. Slovenia

Rest of Europe

21. Italy
22. Portugal
25. Czech Republic
27. Hungary
29. Poland
30. Greece
31. Estonia
34. Slovakia
35. Croatia
37. Latvia
46. Bulgaria
48. Romania
61. Ukraine
69. Turkey
85. Belarus

Categories: Europe, Expatica Tags: ,
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