The French Connection

On paper it would seem French companies and those wishing to do business in the country would have many reasons to be positive. In the last five years France has overtaken the UK to become the world’s fifth biggest economy and despite falling into recession in 2007, its recovery rate was strong – beaten only by Europe’s powerhouse, Germany.

But you only have to speak with someone in the country or look at the news to realise all is not well. So what went wrong?

Ten months ago President François Hollande swept to power promising to roll back his predecessor’s austerity measures. To pay for this, Hollande went after France’s big earners - both individuals and corporations. Actor Gérard Depardieu became a figure of defiance against a gigantic tax hike on the country’s super-rich when he left the country and took up Russian citizenship. Hollande’s tax crusade suffered a further blow when one of his ministers, who later resigned, was found to have stashed millions in a Swiss bank account.

With the Government embroiled in financial scandal which has seen the President’s approval rating drop to 30%, an unemployment rate sliding toward a record 11% and economic growth at a standstill, it would appear a bleak landscape for the AV business.

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