« It’s business as usual with François Hollande »

Édition : Mulhouse/Sud-Alsace - 11 juin 2012

Ce mois-ci, la chronique de Sarah a exploré pour nous l’avis de la presse britannique économique suite à l’élection de François Hollande. Une presse britannique pas franchement enthousiaste, et même sévère vis à vis de certaines rigidités typiquement françaises qui freinent l’esprit d’entreprise.

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A brief overview of how the British press sees Hollande’s attitude to business and innovation.

The Guardian calls France “François Hollande’s start-down nation”, and paints a dull portrait of a man with no track-record, no aspiration and certainly no penchant for innovation. The paper does point out that Sarkozy was not much better in terms of the latter : “What made this campaign so depressing was both sides seemed to willfully ignore one of the most potent engines of the economy that is innovation and a country’s ability to foster it“.

Lack of investment in higher education

One of the problems, the paper goes onto point out, is the lack of investment in higher education with France spending less than half than the US per student – and 15 times less compared to the Ivy League colleges ! The Guardian notes that with only two graduate schools in France promoting the elite of France, they are a scarce breed and “the difference between a Polytechnique student and a Stanford one, is the former will dream of managing, one day, a large industrial concern such as Thales ..or ..Total, while the Stanford grad will want to see his/ her name on a campus building – after a creating a successful business;...” France, it continues, also has a poor track record in attracting venture capital, a 102 year old labour code which hinders employment and a general lack of impetus and flexibility with regards to creating new businesses.

A deep anti-business attitude

« The rather dangerous Monsieur Hollande” headlines The Economist, has “a deep antibusiness attitude”. “Mr Normal” says The Telegraph, is a true technocrat, “quickly bogged down by jargon and technical details”. The Financial Times however is more encouraging and suggests that he is balancing politics and reform with a diverse cabinet with a slight bias towards modernizers. Most notably the paper points out Mme Aubry, author of the 35 hour week, is absent from the cabinet. With comparisons such as Tati’s M.Hulot aside, François Holland is for the moment not inspiring much confidence. As the Guardian summarises: “France won’t fall from the cliff, nor will it shine brightly under the new regime. And it won’t innovate either.”

Sarah Lesage

Business as usual : C’est comme à l’habitude
Start-down : Contraire de start-up
To foster : Promouvoir
Ivy League Colleges : Les 8 plus prestigieuses universités des Etats Unis
Scarce breed : Une race rare
Hinder employment : Freiner l’emploi
Lack of impetus : Un manque d’impulsion
Bogged down : Être embourbé