French Economy Slips Back Into Contraction Territory

It’s not just the Germany economy which is being hit by a serious slump, France is stuck in a rut of its own with the latest economic data showing yet another contraction. After a very slight recovery in February, France’s composite PMI for this month has fallen back down below the 50 level, which indicates growth, to 48.7, following contractions in December and January as well. No wonder Macron’s no deal bluster didn’t survive the night yesterday – if May had actually stuck to her no deal promise the UK’s position would only be getting stronger now…

mdi-timer 22 March 2019 @ 15:12 22 Mar 2019 @ 15:12 mdi-comment Comments
No, A French Minister Doesn’t Have a Cat Called ‘Brexit’

Journalists thought they’d got their paws on the purrr-fect tail after reports that France’s Europe Minister Nathalie Loiseau had named her cat Brexit because of its indecision. Meow!

Loiseau was quoted as saying:

“It wakes me up meowing like crazy every morning because it wants to go out, but as soon as I open the door, it just sits there undecided and then looks angry when I put it outside.”

She was even asked about it by a British journalist in Brussels yesterday. Un-fur-tunately her office have confirmed that the story isn’t fur real and she was just kitten around – she doesn’t actually own a cat at all. Purr-lease, she was just feel-ine funny…

mdi-timer 20 March 2019 @ 09:52 20 Mar 2019 @ 09:52 mdi-comment Comments
France Unveils Technological ‘Smart Border’ Solution

As any self-respecting Brexit pundit will be more than happy to remind us, smart borders featuring mythological things like remote customs declarations and automated number plate checking are simply “unicorns” which aren’t likely to be possible for hundreds, if not thousands of years. They certainly won’t be suitable for any post-Brexit border crossings…

Which is why French Customs have just unveiled a “smart border” – an “innovative technological solution” which will be implemented on 29 March 2019 “at all points of entry/exit to/from the Calais region and at border points from Channel-North Sea to maintain smooth circulation of your goods.” What are they thinking wasting their time on this? If only they’d listened to the commentariat…

The French say their system is based on three principles, which are obviously from the realms of pure fantasy:

  • The early completion of customs procedures before arriving at the border by giving the bar code of the customs declaration to the driver.
  • The identification of the mean of transport and the bar code of customs declaration of transported goods.
  • The automatic sending of the crossing notifications to the customs declarant to avoid stopping the HGV.

The bar codes are linked to the number plates of the HGVs so hauliers have no need to stop, avoiding delays to the vast quantities of goods that pass between the UK and France every day. But of course, none of this could ever possibly work to monitor the tiny quantities of agricultural products and construction materials that cross the Irish border…

mdi-timer 11 March 2019 @ 16:01 11 Mar 2019 @ 16:01 mdi-comment Comments
French Railways to Be Neo-Liberalised

Teenage Corbynistas who are too young to have known the joys of nationalised British Rail can look across the channel to learn about the merits of socialised transport:

“The dilapidated network, delays, abysmal debt … The situation is alarming, not to say untenable. The French, whether they take the train or not, pay more and more for a public service that works less and less well…”

So says Prime Minister Edouard Philippe about the state of SNCF, France’s publicly owned railway. He plans to tackle the railway union’s amazingly comfy conditions for workers. He wants to “align its costs with European standards”, when “running a train in France costs 30% more than elsewhere”. The unions suspect he is preparing to privatise the company, he denies it, he is just going to neo-liberalise reform the railways to be run more like a private company. The railway union has called a national strike for March 22…

mdi-timer 27 February 2018 @ 12:01 27 Feb 2018 @ 12:01 mdi-comment Comments
Macron: French “Probably” Would Have Voted to Leave EU

French President Emmanuel Macron admits the French people would “probably” have voted to leave the European Union had they been allowed a referendum. #DespiteFrexit…

mdi-timer 21 January 2018 @ 11:04 21 Jan 2018 @ 11:04 mdi-comment Comments

Francois Ruffin, a newly minted left-wing member of the Assemblée Nationale, managed to bring proceedings to a halt by failing to tuck his shirt in:

Guido would have got a detention at school for being this scruffy. In a similar sartorial situation Bercow would probably allow matters to proceed…

mdi-timer 28 July 2017 @ 15:37 28 Jul 2017 @ 15:37 mdi-comment Comments
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