France seems to be going through the blues right now. Nothing seems to be going right. The latest setback was the loss of the 2012 Olympics, Paris the favorite, lost to London. This is one of many recent French setbacks: French wine losing its leader status to ‘new world’ wines, French influence in Europe and the world at what seems to be a post World War II low (see paragraph below) and the final blow the sense that France’s unemployment rate is intolerable: 10%. It’s been at this rate for about 20 years now.
This Blues attack comes after the resounding no vote for the European Constitutional Treaty. Some of those who voted “no” now regret it. Some believe the “no” vote has weakened France’s political power in the European Union and the world.
Underlining the Blues is the feeling that the high tax and expensive worker benefits (over 40 paid vacation days and 35 hours work weeks) actually harm French businesses and workers. Most business people I talk to feel France taxes businesses too much, reducing France’s ability to compete in the global economy. Also the reduce work week has not helped lower the unemployment rate. Lowering unemployment was a key selling point when the 35-hour week was purposed. Most business people point out that for every Euro paid to French workers just almost another other Euro is paid to the government in taxes. I had one small business owner tell me that if he didn’t have to pay such high taxes he would hire another worker. It should be noted that if every small and medium size business in France hired just one more worker, unemployment would vanish.
The early summer heat wave seems to have puttered out. After I wrote how hot the weather was in France, we experienced cooler weather.
The heat wave is over for now but the drought remains. More and more departments are restricting water use. Across Europe, most notably in Spain and Portugal farmers are losing their crops?????N to the heat. I saw on TV that over 90% of Portugal is a drought zone with some areas not having any rain in over 8 months.
From what I’ve seen in southern Burgundy and the northern Rhône Alps regions the fields look much browner than normal and yields might be lower than normal.
Thanks to everyone who joined my Live in France group. The response set a new members weekly record.
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