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Articles and News Features

Eye on France Riviera Reporter

Uritrottoir takes on the “wild peeing” plague

Two French inventors think they’ve come up with an environmentally-friendly solution to the stink and mess of “wild peeing”. And people are listening. “People urinating on the streets of France is a serious problem,” says inventor Victor Massip. “And we knew there was a big demand for a solution, so we’ve come up with one.” Massip and his business partner Laurent Lebot came up with the “Uritrottoir” (a mix of the French…
Health and Well-being Susan Tomassini

Don’t sweat it in summer, stay hydrated

There’s something special about eating in the summertime. Maybe because fruits and vegetables are at their best or perhaps it’s that eating en plein air strengthens our connection to nature and exposes us to sunlight, both of which are scientifically proven to help us feel happier. As a nutritionist, I love the summer months, not only for the physical benefits of outdoor living, but also because I feel especially inspired…
Expat Issues Michael Carberry

Reflections on Brexit: The rude awakening

Almost two months after the British decision to leave the EU, the UK and Europe are still reeling from the fallout. For David Cameron, who thought by calling the referendum to pacify his right wingers and see off the challenge from UKIP, and for those who dreamed that a leave vote would usher in a golden age of independence and regained sovereignty, it has been a rude awakening. An unnecessary referendum David Cameron had…

Tax on savings and investments in France

Are you protecting your savings and investments from unnecessary taxation in France? You will have worked to build up…

Running High, Running Low, Running Long by Ben Rolfe

Reading Riviera Reporter
We first mentioned Monaco-based Ben Rolfe in the summer of 2014 (On a Rolfe. Fundraising for Diabetes), after his…

UKSA scholarship in honour of Bosun Will Black

Yachting and Boating Riviera Reporter
Six years ago during the Monaco Yacht Show, Bosun Will Black of the 183-foot (56m) Perini Navi S/Y Burrasca was involved…

Joining the Riviera Hash House Harriers

Community Melanie Gulliver
If, like me, you like to discover new places on the Côte d’Azur and meeting friendly multi-national (mostly…

A digitally distracted generation in the classroom

One of the employment opportunities available to expats with certain qualifications is teaching English. Before I left…

The mega wealthy who own megayachts

Yachting and Boating Michael Healy
For a display of real opulence, look no further than the ports of Monaco and Antibes. The rows of huge yachts, presented…

Wealth management spotlight: Rob Kay

Finance, Tax and Business Riviera Reporter
Blevins Franks are the leading international tax and wealth management advisers to British nationals living in Europe.…

Homes and Houses: Narnia-like Provençal bastide in Sillans-la-Cascade

Property and Pools Riviera Reporter
Just an hour from Sainte Maxime and the Côte d’Azur, in the heart of old Provence, sits the enchanting village of…

Provence Diary: The thigh’s the limit on French TV

Features Dan Briggs
My French teacher has advised me to watch as much French television as possible. My favourite shows are the current…

A lesson about how to write the number “one” on cheques

Bookkeeping, accounting and generally knowing your numbers are a fairly important part of working for yourself, be it in…

The fate of D.H. Lawrence’s ashes after his burial in Vence

History and Traditions Robert Bullock
During the afternoon of March 4th, 1930, a small group of people gathered in Vence Cemetery for the funeral of the…

A trio of rosé wines from Provence

Table Talk Alex Ignatieff
An early Easter and the season of pink was well and truly launched, perhaps with a big jumper or two nearby, but what a…

French Riviera: Information, News, Facts. Life on the Cote d'Azur - Riviera Reporter

So what is new in 2013?

A flurry of cold, depressing bad news, like the weather. Almost comical stories of the wealthy leaving France to avoid the 75% tax on high incomes (over €1M), before the Constitutional Court overturned the measure early in the New Year. Will Gérard Depardieu and his pals return? Unlikely. To quote one of France’s leading actors: “I am leaving because you consider that success, creation, talent, in fact anything that is different, should be penalised.” So said Depardieu in response to Prime Minister Ayrault’s opinion of him being “pathetic” for taking tax residency in Belgium (this was before Depardieu’s Russian foray).

President Hollande seems not to care about the Constitutional Court and has vowed to drive through some other tax on the higher earners: “We will always ask for more from those that have the most,” he declared.

Bernard ArnaultAnother personality to arouse controversy was Bernard Arnault (pictured), Chief Executive of the luxury goods group, LVMH, who is also moving to Belgium. In attempting to gain Belgian citizenship, could France’s richest man be paving a way to enter the tax haven of Monaco by the “back door”? Rich French people often switch nationality before heading to the Mediterranean It all looks shoddy for France’s image to the outside world, coming hard on the heels of the spat with the Indian aluminium giant, ArcelorMittal. Before Christmas, ArcelorMittal had announced the closure of its plant at Florange in July 2012, giving a deadline of the end of the year for prospective suitors to come forward with offers to take the plant over. No one was forthcoming and there was even talk of nationalising the plant. The whole world stood back in shock at the affront on private enterprise. Eventually the French government was obliged to stand aside and allow economic forces to dictate and private business to make its own tough decisions (and let’s not forget that Mr Mittal still employs over 20,000 people in France even with the loss of 600 at Florange).

One solitary bit of good news, which might have escaped the attention of most, was the settlement early in the year between employer and employee unions on means to “fluidify” the conditions of hiring and firing, allocating employees to parts of the economy that are actually working, rather than hanging onto them at places (like Florange) where things definitely are not. Employers have been saying for ages that they need to be able to take employees on under short-term contracts, rather than the kind of “jobs for life” that many French people assume is a God-given right. Employers also need to be able to act quickly and decisively, so if things have stopped working economically they can make staff redundant without protracted disputes with the unions. This “fluidifying” of the conditions of employment should eventually feed through into the unemployment figures, as structurally there will be more incentive to hire staff in the sectors of the economy that are coming out of the recession.

Unemployment is currently running at just over 12% and looks likely to worsen over the next 12 months with PSA, Renault, Virgin Megastores, as some of the big names making swathing cuts to their workforce. Plus ça change – as we enter 2013 – plus c’est la même chose!

Photo: nicogenin