What does the new President mean for you?

John, I’m not a million miles away from your thinking.
I do believe there are two tiers. The multinational who can invest and the entrepreneur who simply wants to get along or maybes slightly more.
For a Multi, the charges are peanuts and will always be absorbed as operational costs.
For the entrepreneur, they are very real costs that have a real impact on your life.
The Multi can afford it, the one man band very often cannot. There is very little margin for error.

Fair enough Nick the property sector is probably not a bad bet but I just don't see France competing effectively for foreign direct investment in other sectors. If one was thinking of setting up a hub or a major facility in Europe I just can't imagine why one would select France (apart for it being a very nice place to live but that is hard to justify in a business case). I think France needs to be more competitive. The overhead generated by the bloated civil service is strangling businesses. It is not easy to do business here. Many multinationals have subsidiaries here but I suspect that's only to exploit the local market.

And as an addendum, as I said earlier, I can give you a long list of international companies, with whom we work, currently taking advantage of the relatively stable French Market.

Hello again John (I’m on my mobile, so forgive me if there is the odd typographical error).
What do I mean by investing? Very good question.
So let’s have a go at answering it.
I’m speaking about major capital players taking advantage of a stable economy to purchase and renovate real real estate, renovate it to commonly accepted international standards and utilise it to generate a solid income base/ yield / or revenue (whichever is the cut of your cloth)
These companies are here because whatever the situation they need presence and most are taking advantage of lower rentals for the likes of Marks and Sparks. Or lower selling prices enabling certain hotel chains to purchase, combined with lower fit out costs.
Now as I am sure you are aware, lower fit out costs mean contraction, however it also means for the investor that they are able to guarantee a greater volume or continuity of work.
The crux of what I am saying is that even though times are hard, it is not all doom and gloom. Knock on effect, circulation of money all comes into it.
I’m struggling with another question (not personally).
What is preferable:
Earn a shedload and sink it in a company that you have no idea as to how to run, but you can buy it because you have the capital; or have a redistribution of disposable income so that money is invested by the people who have the knowledge and can produce, rather than the speculators.
One takes money out of the economy, one values and earns benefit. Which do you choose?

Hi Nick. What do you mean by invested? France cannot compete in Manufacturing because of high labour costs. I think London is the destination of choice for Banking. France was a leader in high tech thirty years ago but I don't think so anymore. So what sectors find France attracive? Don't get me wrong, I want France to thrive but I know from personal experience that France is not seen as business friendly by our US cousins.

An example of prejudice - Sky News wrote:

Francois Hollande's plane has been hit by lightning delaying the newly sworn-in president's visit to see Angela Merkel in Berlin.

The presidential jet was struck en route to Berlin and forced to turn back to Paris, but the Socialist was unharmed.

He then took off again in another plane...

Why 'the Socialist' rather than 'the President', which is after all said and done what whether Sky like it or not what he is?

Carol and Howard, the 'Tory thing' was by way of example of saying how and why we sometimes express things the way we do, which may be equally 'Guardian liberal' or whatever. It was a generalisation, so don't take that too literally.

Greece is a very complicated case. In European terms Greece was a 'basket case' but they were doing, in relative terms, quite well when they entered the Euro. Economists did warn that they had a weak fiscal base, their banks were already overstretched and why on earth they were allowed in in reality is another question. It may have been, and economists particularly suspect this, that the powers that be thought the entire EU would follow suit, including the UK, and it was a case of one in, all in but in no particular order. They were so wrong. I personally wish the UK had joined, the 'axis' as it stands at present would never have been formed and debated would have been far more creative thus making for a far more useful ECB.

It is not very like Weimar really, Greece is far more changeable than an essentially conservative and humiliated Germany (lost WW1 and had bits taken away, etc). Greece is probably going to default and all of Europe plus IMF and some private financial institutions are going to have to say goodbye to their money. If that happens other countries will have to tighten their proverbial belts but in practical terms other countries will not be able to afford to default as they may do. Ironically, the likes of Spain and Portugal also have money in Greece they would lose and the outcome might be them seeking greater Euro consolidation as a self-protection mechanism. To get out and go over or back to 'Novas Pesetas', etc is a very costly process and they may also not be able to get back their deposits in the ECB, thus a double hit on their economies. The pessimistic view of the Euro is a 'wished for' one that people who have never liked it promote whereas pro-Euro people are on the whole not bothering to say very much. As an economist fiend pointed out maybe three weeks back, neither of the candidates for Euro membership in the near future are pulling back and there are still countries preparing EU membership applications who would automatically have to include the Euro who are not backtracking thus far. Much remains to be seen.

Hollande's new PM is a more astute appointment than people might believe. An old style diplomatist rather than politician with his teaching background and other appointments are fairly canny as well. It is going to be interesting but maybe work. For all of that, the next elections will give France the legislature that makes life easier or more difficult for them and we have a while to wait yet.

Carol is right. It was not just the fault of Greece for joining the Euro (who could resist German interest rates) but also the rest of Euroland for letting it in and Brussels for failing to monitor and check the information fed back to the Commission. What is happening in Greece now is sadly reminiscent of the Weimar Republic and we all know what that turned into. If Greece defaults completely any Greek debt held by banks in Europe and the rest of the world will be worthless and could drive banks into insolvency. There are government guarantees of deposits but can governments be trusted? There could be bank runs as there was at Northern Rock. Whatever the situation, politicians are simply incapable of calling for calm. They can't resist saying things which fan hysteria. Whatever the talk, it's hard to conceive that Euroland will simply allow Greece to go down the gurgler because of the risk that it will be dragged down. If Greece is allowed to go, Spain will likely be next and then who knows. If Euroland land was growing healthily, it could probably absorb a Greek default and Euro exit but it is not growing. It's on the same downward spiral but at an earlier stage.

The fact is Brian...this is a political question...and politics as we all know raises the blood pressure and brings forth strong beliefs...rightly or wrongly. If you look at the Greek situation, there is a national hobby of avoiding paying tax...not my opinion..and not just Tory press opinion...would suggest its a fact. The populace was courted and seduced by parties offering lower and lower age of retirement, which was farcical, because like all countries they have a growing elderly population who expect a pension and healthcare...now..when its clear they are bankrupt as a country, the population dont want austerity measures. No party is going to be able to wave a want and make it all better...there is going to be pain, misery and poverty and their situation is going to have a huge knock on effect on the rest of Euroland...Italy, Ireland and Portugal Im sure will be keenly interested to see what happens when all else fails....sadly, when we are all in a big club...the weakest link (s) are very relevant...so we do have a vested opinion in Greece, it will affect us all.

Look, some of you who consider yourselves 'natural' Tory voters in the UK who use the sources of information that corresponds are going to see communists swarming across your world like ants. There is as yet to be a legislative government voted in, whatever party and whatever 'front' he shows, there is still the real decision making behind him. I think John that you somehow listen, read and so on selectively to find your information. As for your opinion of Greeks, well that is simply a prejudice and I would like to see you back it up. I do not think for one moment they are lazy collectively but I too will concede that their goverment when they went into the Euro was overambitious at a time where much of the economic success in Europe was clearly only ever going to be short lived. The next, which if a new election takes place, government may well dump the Euro and even leave the EU. May and may not. Predictions eh! Right now they are predicting a very left wing government, just a couple of months ago people were predicting the Greek 'fascists' would soon control the country. Should we all not just keep our opinions to ourselves and watch events.

As for the original question, there have been so many diversions that Catharine seems to be getting feedback on everything except her questions: "Will this change? What do you think? Should non-french nationals be allowed to vote? Will a change of government affect you?"

"No sensible/global multinational has invested here in The last ten years"
May I ask where you obtain your misinformation?
I can give you a list as long as your arm of very serious investors from outside France for whom we have constructed in the past ten years.

Hi John. That list of investors is a short, very short snapshot of companies that we are currently working with.
So whether you think so or not, has little impact on the reality of the situation.
As I indicated earlier, they are not the only ones.

Carol, IMHO Hollande doesn't understand business let alone understand how to stimulte it. Imagine in the worst financial crises we have in living memory we have a functionare as president. There's consternation in the PACA business community .

Sure Howard, The Greeks are lazy and the sooner we dump them the better. Two years too late already.

The worries about Hollande may be about to be eclipsed by events. Whilst H is arguing with Merkel, the Greeks are trying to form a government, which has not been successful so far. If Greece doesn't get a government by the time the next bailout payment is due in June, it will be interesting to see if the ECB will withold the payment and force Greece to default with knock on effects elsewhere. It's hard to see H and M having a dispute in such circumstances. Any views?

It will be interesting to see if Hollande encourages business...honestly I was so surprised to see how people are discouraged from going into business....I swear when Bush uttered those memorable words....the French dont have a word for entrepreneur....he was being ironic.....it may well be a French word...but the powers that be have no use for the word...if you start a business here...you do everything in your power not to have to employ anyone..because of the onerous obligation that confers on you....I cant think of a country that makes it so difficult. At the moment check out Carrefour...one of the biggest supermarket chains...who are selling up right left and centre in France...they have issued their 5th profit warning...I am getting used to going into supermarkets where there are 10 tills and having one or maybe two staff working tills...with queues to kingdom come...I complain about customer service in France...but this is bad even for France...

I love France and I'm very happy to live here but if anyone thinks that the French economy is going anywhere other than south in the short/medium term, please think again. No sensible multinational/global enterprise has "invested" here in the last 10 years. Now with a unknown, unproven president elect FDI is even more unlikely.

"Barclays, HSBC, Nokia, Google, Apple,the Qataris, the list goes on and on.They are all investing"

I don't think so.

Right on Nick too. Barclays, with whom I have accounts in UK and France, have sent me information on investments because in the UK they 'look after' a stack of shares I inherited and decided that I must be a market type of person, so the portfolio here in France is impressive. I have never and never will buy shares, but the stuff they send out to people they want to invest in them is very interesting indeed.

Nice one Richard, because I have some health problems near my hand I have GlaxoSmithKline, aventis and other easily idetifiable pharmaceutical companies with French branches, my children eat Weetabix and various Kelloggs cereals and we could go on... they have been here for years already and will stay along with many others.

I second Richard, it certainly isn’t all doom and gloom in construction.
Thinking also of investors such as Barclays, HSBC, Nokia, Google, Apple,the Qataris, the list goes on and on.
They are all investing