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David Cameron

France is no longer the 5th world economy

By Marie Decreme

What a blow for France at the beginning of 2015: the country has lost to the UK its rank as the fifth largest economy in the world. The figures released by the European Commission show a difference of almost a hundred billion euros between the two countries’ GDPs.

On 31 December, in his wishes for 2015, François Hollande meant to send a “message of confidence and determination”; “France is a great country, it is the world’s fifth biggest economic power” he proudly said. Apparently, the President had not been informed of European Commission’s most recent assessments… In 2014, the UK dethroned France from its rank as the world’s fifth economy (Le Figaro). We need to stop the French bashing and think positive, but this is nonetheless hard to swallow…

In 2013, France was one of the top 5 economic powers, behind the US, China, Japan, and Germany. It is now relegated to sixth place, a mere 98 billion euros behind the UK in terms of GDB, but still a drop in the rankings.

Why such a gap? Basically, you have, on one side, an economy that is stagnating and showing only very slow growth (0.4%), has increasing double-digit unemployment, a significant government deficit, low morale which does not help… Then, on the other side of the Channel, the economy has been revitalised: achieving 3% growth in 2014, a reasonable level of inflation (UK 1.5% vs. France’s 0.4%), the re-evaluation of the British pound… The UK, which has been right behind France for a long time, is moving ahead, thanks to a strong recovery.

In 1973, France had taken the advantage in this very tight game (Le Figaro). It concedes its position today, but the match is not finished; Emmanuel Macron, Minister of the Economy, sees 2015 as “the year of a European rebirth, a turning point for the French economy, […] it is a new deal (order?), and everything is in place so that businesses can invest and recruit.” 


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