Category: France

Tour de France to start Aug. 29

The Tour de France will take place Aug. 29 to Sept. 20, the International Cycling Union announced Wednesday. Read More

Tour de France to start Aug. 29

Business and Sports News from Mike Armstrong – See

European Business News / EuropeanBiz – Latest European Economic News After Coronavirus Impact…

Europe’s economy was meant to have a decent year in 2020. Factory production in the 19-country eurozone rose strongly in January, after a tentative truce in the US-China trade war. Consumer confidence was strong. Housebuilders’ order books were full.

The stage was set for a solid, albeit unspectacular year. The European economy would see “steady and moderate growth”, predicted the European commission’s economic forecast on 13 February. It also warned of clouds on the horizon, including a new virus. Noting mounting concern about coronavirus, as well as “downside” risks, the Brussels forecast concluded the outbreak would peak in the first three months of the year, with “relatively limited global spillovers”.

That was then. One month later the global economy is heading for recession, markets have taken a hammering, investors are panicking. Across the continent, shops, restaurants and bars are shuttered, supply chains frozen, football matches cancelled, theatres, cinemas and hairdressers closed. The pan-European Stoxx 600 index had its worst-ever day on Thursday, plunging 11.5%, after a blunt message from the European Central Bank president, Christine Lagarde, that it was the job of governments – not the ECB – to protect indebted countries.

The head of the European commission, Ursula von der Leyen, described the pandemic as “a major shock” to Europe’s economies, as she promised a €37bn (£33bn) fund to handle the fallout.

Attention is turning to eurozone finance ministers, who will meet on Monday, after the ECB disappointed markets by declining to cut interest rates as part of a stimulus package announced last week.

Having fumbled the eurozone debt crisis, can EU leaders now protect their economies from the worst pandemic in more than 100 years?

Italy, the hardest-hit country in Europe, is heading for rocky times. “Italy has gone through many crises, unfortunately,” said Lorenzo Codogno, a visiting professor at the London School of Economics. “The problem is that, coming from all these crises in the past, the Italian government is weak right now and the public finances situation is even more fragile, so it’s particularly dangerous.”

He is forecasting a 3.1% slump in economic output in 2020, or even 6.5% in a worst-case scenario – “given how the situation is unfolding, [the latter] might become the baseline scenario pretty soon”. The Italian government, which has said it is ready to spend €25bn to protect its economy from the fallout, has chided other Europeans for “beggar-thy-neighbour” policies, such as Germany’s export ban on surgical masks.

Italy’s banks are in a healthier position than 2011, when they were creaking under bad loans, but things could still turn nasty. To avoid a return to the “doom loop” – where potential bank failure risks the bankruptcy of the state – Codogno is advocating support for Italy in the form of an EU precautionary credit line.

Disinfection in process outside the Centrale railway station in Milan.

Disinfection in process outside the Centrale train station in Milan. Photograph: Claudio Furlan/AP

In France, the next-worst-affected European country, the government is warning of “severe” consequences for the economy. The outbreak is another blow, after a wave of strikes in 2019 chipped away at economic growth. France’s central bank has cut its growth forecast for the first quarter to 0.1%, down from a previous estimate of 0.3%, warning of a “severe but temporary” slowdown.

Germany is not as badly affected by the virus as Italy or France, but its export-led economy was the first to feel the chill of China’s slowdown. A survey for the ifo Institut last week revealed that 56% of German companies had reported “negative effects”, with a 44% slump in demand and 52% of manufacturers saying they were experiencing difficulties with supply. In response to the pressure on the economy, the chancellor, Angela Merkel, even suggested that she was ready to reverse the rule of maintaining a balanced budget – the black zero or schwarze Null – that has proved an unbreakable political orthodoxy for the government in recent years.

Speaking before the German government announced “unlimited” credit to keep companies afloat, the influential president of the ifo, Clemens Fuest, said that Berlin was “moving in the right direction”. He supports a temporary relaxation of the schwarze Null, noting that the black zero was a very good policy in good times, but it shouldn’t stand in the way of taking decisive measures”.

The German economist thinks EU measures need to be similarly targeted and “we have not reached that point” of needing precautionary credit lines for indebted countries.

The coronavirus fallout is likely to be uneven. “The producers of toilet paper don’t have a recession at all, and the restaurants and hotels have a very deep one,” said Christian Odendahl, chief economist at the Centre for European Reform, based in Berlin. Manufacturers, he said, have more hope of a “V-shaped” recovery – that is, an economic bounce-back as rapid as the descent – because they will benefit from pent-up demand.

Odendahl observed: “If you want to buy glasses now but you can’t because of supply chain disruptions, you will do so later, whereas a restaurant or a trip you just have to cancel.” For that reason, he thinks Germany could see a more rapid rebound compared with countries more reliant on tourism, such as Spain.

An opera is performed to an empty auditorium in Berlin, where all theatres are closed.

An opera is performed to an empty auditorium in Berlin, where all theatres are closed. Photograph: Peter Adamik/AP

But that should not stop European policymakers from taking “bold” action, Odendahl said. All companies “need liquidity help to make sure they survive this long pause of economic activity intact”. He also wants to see a European approach to help indebted countries: “If there was a time for risk-sharing, then this would be it. This is a situation where there is no moral hazard.” Here he is referring to the debate that raged during the eurozone debt crisis, when creditor countries declined to pool risk for fear of “rewarding” debtors.

Mário Centeno, the head of the Eurogroup – made up of the finance ministers of the eurozone – said that his members would come up with “a very large policy response” to address the crisis – greater than the €27bn Lagarde suggested was needed. Centeno expects ministers to agree fiscal measures that will ensure liquidity for companies, support unemployment benefits and help reduce hours for workers.

But it is not clear whether these measures add up to the “massive” economic stimulus plan that France is looking for – a measure EU leaders failed to agree to on a telephone conference summit last week.

Pascal Canfin, a French MEP and ally of President Emmanuel Macron, has called for a “European stimulus package” to be announced by the EU leaders’ summit at the end of this month (26-27 March). Canfin, who chairs the European parliament’s environment and public health committee, argues that this package must be aligned with the European Green Deal, a plan to transform the economy to meet the demands of the climate emergency.

In addition to using flexibilities in EU budget rules, the MEP said that a European stimulus package agreed on 27 March “would be a real answer to the problem right on the scale and right on the time”. It would “make sure the green deal is alive”, with spending to promote electric vehicles and energy-efficient housing.

But some EU countries think it’s premature to discuss this kind of stimulus. The European commission’s vice-president in charge of the economy, Valdis Dombrovskis, has sounded a cautious note: “In current circumstances, I wouldn’t be talking so much about fiscal stimulus, rather about crisis response.”

For more on this Guardian Article please click the link.

For more European Business News / European Biz or Coronavirus News please follow the relevant links.

Business and Sports News from Mike Armstrong – See

France blow best Grand Slam chance in a decade…

There will be no Grand Slam. France’s best chance in a decade to pull that off was ruined at Murrayfield by a stellar Scottish performance, featuring a brace from Sean Maitland and a back-breaking red card for the France tighthead prop Mohamed Haouas for a punch at the end of the first half, from which the visitors never recovered. 

The outcome also capped off a good weekend for England, who have now gone top of the Six Nationstable on points difference ahead of France with one round to go.

As Haouas departed here, rightly sent off for a punch to the head of Scotland’s Jamie Ritchie after the two came together in a ruck, you sensed that France were once again destroying another golden opportunity. Haouas’ mindless act brought back memories of Sebastian Vahaamahina’s own implosion in Oita at the Rugby World Cup, red carded for an elbow on Aaron Wainwright that killed off France’s hopes of progressing to the semi-finals.

Haouas’ exit, a third penalty by Scotland fly-half Adam Hastings and then a well-worked try to put Maitland over in the corner all came in the space of less than five minutes. Collectively it felt like a knockout punch, not only in the context of the match but for France’s Grand Slam hopes as well, even with the second half still to come. Maitland’s second try shortly after the interval – made by a fine break from Chris Harris, slipping past Paul Willemse then combining with Ali Price – hammered that point home.

For more on this and other news please follow the link.

Business and Sports News from Mike Armstrong – See

Citroen presents the first fully electric Made in Morocco car in Paris

Citroen presents the first fully electric Made in Morocco car in Paris

Rabat – French automaker Citroen unveiled its Made in Morocco mini electric car called AMI yesterday at the Paris Defense Arena, marking Citroen’s entry into the electric car arena.

Built in the PSA factory in Kenitra, the mini-car without a license will be available for sale at €6,900.

Rechargeable in 3 hours, the two-seater car can travel 70 kilometers at a maximum speed of 45 kilometers per hour.

The car is the perfect choice for daily activities and aims to make city driving less stressful. Its small size makes finding a parking lot much easier

In France, Citroen offers encouraging offers to customers who want to have a small eco-friendly car.

Read also: The PSA group moves some research and development activities to Morocco

“The vehicle is accessible to everyone: without a license, with convenient” à la carte “offers adapted to everyone’s needs, in car-sharing via Free2Move or in long-term rental starting from € 19.99 / month”, he said the company in a statement.

With a length of 2m41 and a height of 1m52, the AMI will compete with the Renault Twizy, which has been marketed for eight years. Twizy has a range of 90 kilometers compared to the 70 kilometers AMI range.

The company has not announced when it will begin marketing its new electric car in Morocco.

— Read on

Business and Sports News from Mike Armstrong – See

Six Nations RESULTS: France see off Wales to keep Grand Slam hopes alive, Scotland cruise to victory against minnows Italy

Six Nations RESULTS: France see off Wales to keep Grand Slam hopes alive, Scotland cruise to victory against minnows Italy

Shaun Edwards was given a Cardiff return to remember as France stayed on course for a Six Nations Grand Slam as they got the better of Wales with a 27-23 win.

Former Wales defence coach Edwards, who is now performing the same role with France, looked on as his team ran in tries from full-back Anthony Bouthier, lock Paul Willemse and fly-half Romain Ntamack.France are looking more and more like Grand Slam winnersNtamack added three conversions and two penalties for a 17-point haul, with Les Bleus claiming a first win on Welsh soil since 2010.And it proved richly deserved despite Wales clawing back to one point behind early in the second period through prop Dillon Lewis’ first try for his country and fly-half Dan Biggar touching down late on.

Biggar booted two conversions and three penalties, collecting 18 points, yet Wales could have few complaints after falling to a second successive defeat under new head coach Wayne Pivac.The reigning Six Nations champions suffered a first home reversal in the tournament since England toppled them three years ago.

They now have to pick themselves up for a Twickenham appointment with England in two weeks’ time, while resurgent France will complete a Six Nations clean sweep if they see off Scotland at Murrayfield, followed by Ireland in Paris.France looked like they were going to run away with things but Wales stayed in touch with a late fightbackScotland cruised to a straightforward 17-0 victory over Italy to claim their first victory of the 2020 Six Nations campaign.Scotland had failed to score in either of their opening defeats to Ireland and England, but Stuart Hogg – guilty of horror spills in both those losses – made amends after 23 minutes with a brilliant individual solo try as he darted 50 yards to score in the corner.

Scotland celebrate their first victoryTomasso Allan then fired a penalty against the post as Italy wasted a late chance just before the break to trim Scotland’s 5-0 lead.The visitors got their second score on 47 minutes as Chris Harris squeezed over as Italy’s brave resistance gave way after 17 phases of sheer Scottish grunt.Italy had to play out the final stages a man light after Federico Zani was sin-binned for a tip-tackle on Grant Gilchrist.

— Read on

Business and Sports News from Mike Armstrong – See

Alun Wyn Jones caught in row over scrummaging with the French Coach 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿🇫🇷🏉📰

Tensions are high as Wales prepare to take on France in Cardiff on Saturday, and Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones has hit back at France’s claims that Wales were disrespectful with their scrum “cheat” claims.

France coach Fabien Galthie responded to Wales prop Wyn Jones’ suggestion the visiting scrum will “cheat” when the sides meet in Cardiff this weekend, saying the comments demonstrate a lack of respect for the whole country.

“It’s a lack of respect for our scrum, a lack of respect for our team, a lack of respect for French rugby but also for our nation,” he told a press conference.

“This is the Six Nations tournament and in the Six Nations tournament there is no room for these kind of remarks.”

But Alun Wyn Jones is not in agreement, admitting he felt the comments were born more out of respect than a lack of.

For more on this or other news please follow the link.

Business and Sports News from Mike Armstrong – See

International business networking event in Paris to increase business relationships between Welsh businesses & their French cousins…

International Business Networking in Paris, France with Introbiz and ACB

Over the course of the France v Wales Six Nations Rugby weekend from Friday 27th of Feb to Sunday 1st of Mar (appropriately St David’s Day) business ties between the Welsh & French business communities were further enhanced after a fantastic international business networking event was held in Paris, France.

This was due to the launch of the first of many proposed international business networking events between leading Welsh business networking company Introbiz UK Ltd and their French counterparts ACB.

France v Wales Six Nations Rugby Match

The International Networking Event was arranged for the weekend of the France v Wales Six Nations Rugby Weekend so that both sports friendly networking organisations could enjoy the France v Wales match in addition to the international networking event.

International Networking Event in Paris

The international networking event in Paris was hosted at the ACB’s Paris Head Quarters in the heart of the French Capital and the international networking event included; a getting to know you session as well as food, drink, talks, competitions and other festivities.

Introbiz' Paul & Tracey Smolinski with French Businesses, members of ACB in Paris networking event

There was a fantastic selection of Cheese, Meats, Bread and Wine available to all guest and a number of presentations were given by attendees in both English & French.

French buffet at International Networking Event in Paris

Post International Networking Event Activities

More networking and eating in French restaurant:

Following on from the International Networking Event in Paris the delegates were taken by coach to the Stade de France where they watched a fantastic Welsh victory in the France v Wales Six Nations match before sampling many French delicacies and more French wine in a unique & lively Brittany restaurant in Paris.

French restaurant and food for International networking event in France

International Networking Event in Paris

The Eiffel Tower

Viewing the Eiffel Tower during International Business Networking weekend in Paris

And no Paris trip would be complete without a trip to the Eiffel Tower.

Next Introbiz & ACB joint Welsh & French Business Networking Event

The next International Business Networking Event between Welsh business networking company Introbiz UK Ltd and French business networking club ACB will be around the Ireland v France Rugby World Cup 2015 match in Wales for later this year.

If you want to get involved in this future International Business Networking Event or other similar international business networking events please email: quoting code MACInt15.

This International Business Networking Event in Paris page was written “By Mike Armstrong” of Welsh Marketing Company MA Consultancy – Au Revoir