FRANCE BACKGROUND CHECK

Background verifications in France is an upcoming concept which deals with fraudulent activities of various sectors which common man unable to maintain by saying that it is not necessary for us but few things are such which create massive difficulties in future for the organizations. For that purpose, background screeners are appointed who will make strategies to fight against such defaulters who are creating commotions for disrupting the growth and progress of the firms. Background verification services in France can be used by all those who think to get the benefits out of them to have smooth businesses.

The idea behind doing such verifications is to catch hold of the offenders who are recruited wrongly in the firms with the intention to destroy the status and bring down the reputation of the firms. These services could be utilized all over France including Angers, Bordeaux, Lille, Le Havre, Lyon, Marseille, Montpellier, Nice, Nantes , Paris, Rennes, Reims, Saint-etienne, Strasbourg and Toulouse. Effective use of such services could enhance their reputation in the market and bring the profits. Any further information please link-up with our website info@backcheckgroup.com .

General Information

GDP USD2806.43bn (World ranking 5, World Bank 2013)
Population 66 million (World ranking 21, World Bank 2013)
Form of state Republic
Head of government François HOLLANDE (President)
Next elections 2017, presidential and legislative

CURRENT LOCAL TIME

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PRODUCTS IN FRANCE

Data Protection

France

Contribution Details

carol a.f. umhoefer

Partner

Law

Law No. 78 17 of 6 January 1978 on “Information Technology, Data Files and Civil Liberty”

(“Law”) is the principal law regulating data protection in France.

The EU Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC was implemented via Law No. 2004 8021 of

6 August 2004 which amended the Law?

Enforcement of the Law is principally through the “Commission Nationale Informatique et

Libertés” (“CNIL”).

Definition of Personal Data

Any information relating to a natural person who is or can be identified, directly or indirectly, by reference to an identification number or to one or more factors specific to him or her.

Definition of Sensitive Personal Data

Personal data that reveals directly or indirectly, racial and ethnic origins, political, philosophical, religious opinions or trade union affiliation of persons, or that concern their health or sexual life.

National Data Protection Authority

Commission National de l’informatique et des Liberties (cnil)

8, rue Vivienne

CS 30223

75083 Paris Cedex 02 

The CNIL is responsible for ensuring that information technology remains at the service of citizens, and does not jeopardize human identity or breach human rights, privacy or individual or public liberties.

Registration

Except for certain data processing that is subject to exemption, authorization, ministerial order or decree issued by the Supreme Administrative Court (“Conseil d’Etat”), the processing of personal data requires a prior declaration to the CNIL.

The prior declaration to the CNIL shall specify, amongst other things:

■     The purpose(s) of the processing;

■     the identity and the address of the data controller (i.e. the natural or legal person who determines the purpose and the means of the personal data processing and implements such decisions itself or appoints a data processor to implement them);

■     The possible interconnections between databases;

■     The types of personal data processed and the categories of persons concerned by the

Processing;

■     The recipients of the processed data;

■     The time period for which the data will be kept;

■     The department or person(s) in charge of implementing the data processing;

■     The recipients or categories of recipients of the personal data;

■     The measures taken in order to ensure the security of the processing; and

■     The existence of a data transfer to a country outside of the EU regarded by the CNIL as not providing an adequate level of protection.

The CNIL may also exempt certain processes from prior declaration, in view of their purposes, addressees, the nature of the processed data, the length of their conservation or the concerned persons. Other processes may require only a simplified prior declaration.

Data Protection Officers

There is no legal requirement for organizations to appoint a data protection officer (known as a

Correspondent Informatique et liberties or CIL in France).

However, an organization is exempt from making prior declarations to the CNIL if the organization has appointed a data protection officer (“DPO”).

The appointment of a DPO does not exempt an organization from requesting prior authorization, where necessary (e.g. transfer of data to a country that does not provide an adequate level of protection to personal data).

The DPO is in charge of verifying the compliance of data processing with the Law. The DPO communicates, to any person who requests, information on the processing such as its purposes, interconnections, the types of data and the categories of concerned persons, the length of data conservation and the services in charge of implementing the processing.

Collection and Processing

Any personal data must be processed in a manner consistent with the following general

Principles:

■     all personal data is processed fairly and lawfully;

■     all personal data is collected for specific, explicit and legitimate purposes and are subsequently processed in accordance with these purposes;

■     all personal data collected is adequate, relevant, and non-excessive in view of the purposes

for which they are collected; and

■     all personal data is accurate, comprehensive and, when necessary, kept up to date.

The processing of personal data shall have received the individual’s consent or shall fulfill one of

The following conditions:

■     processing is required by law;

■     The purpose of the processing is to protect the individual’s life;

■     The purpose of the processing is to carry out a public service;

■     processing relates to the performance of a contract to which the concerned individual is a

Party; or

■     processing relates to the realization of the legitimate interest of the data controller or of the data recipient, subject to the interest and fundamental rights and liberties of the concerned individual.

Where sensitive personal data is processed, a different list of specific conditions applies.

Whichever of the above conditions is relied upon, the person from whom the personal data is collected must be informed of:

■     The identity of the data controller and, as the case may be, the data processor;

■     The purposes of the data processing;

■     The recipients or categories of recipients of the data;

■     the right to object, for a legitimate purpose, to the collection of such data, a right to access the collected data and a right to have the processed data rectified, completed, blocked or deleted; and

■     Where data is to be transferred outside the EU, and specific details on where and why the data is newly transferred.

Transfer

Transfer of a data subject’s personal data to a non EU/European Economic Area country is allowed if the country guarantees to individuals a sufficient level of protection in terms of privacy and fundamental rights and liberties. The sufficient nature of the protection is assessed taking into account national laws, applicable security measures, specific characteristics of the processing, such as its purpose and duration, as well as the nature, origin and destination of the processed data.

For data transfers to the United States, companies that adhere to the US/EU Safe Harbor principles are deemed to offer adequate protection.

Data controllers may transfer personal data out of the European Economic Area to countries that are not deemed to offer adequate protection if the transfer is necessary:

■     For the protection of the individual’s life;

■     For the protection of the public interest;

■     to comply with obligations allowing the acknowledgement, the exercise or the defense of a

Legal right;

■     for consultation of a public register intended for the public’s information;

■     for the performance of a contract between the data controller and the individual, or pre

Contractual measures undertaken at the individual’s request;

■     For the conclusion or the performance of a contract in the interest of the individual, between

The data controller and a third party.

The CNIL may allow transfers if the above conditions are not fulfilled provided there is an adequate level of protection by reason of contractual provisions e.g. by standard contractual clauses (Model Clauses) approved by the European Commission, or internal rules (Binding Corporate Rules) applicable to data exporter and data importer.

Security

The entity processing the data must take all useful precautions with respect to the nature of the data and the risk presented by the processing, to preserve the security of the data and, amongst other things, prevent alteration, corruption or access by unauthorized third parties.

A data processor may only process personal data on behalf and upon instruction given by the data controller. The data processor must provide sufficient guarantees in terms of security and confidentiality, but even if this is the case, the data controller remains liable for compliance with these obligations.

Breach notification

The Law does not set out any obligation to notify the CNIL or the data subject in the event of a data security breach.

Enforcement

The CNIL has the power to proceed with verifications of any data processing, and, as the case may be, to request a copy of every document that it considers useful in view of its mission.

The CNIL also has the power to pronounce different sanctions that vary in accordance with the severity of the violation committed by the data controller:

■     Warnings and notices to comply with the obligations defined in the Law; or

■     if the data controller does not comply with the notice, the CNIL has the power to order a financial sanction up to EUR 150,000 for the first violation, and in the case of a second violation in the following 5 years, up to EUR 300,000 or 5% of the company’s turnover (limited to EUR 300,000), and/or to order that the company immediately cease the data processing.

In accordance with Articles 226 16 to 226 24 of the French Criminal Code, various violations of the Law may constitute a misdemeanor. For example, the violation, even by negligence,

of the prior declaration requirements (see Registration above) is punishable by up to 5 years’

Imprisonment, and/or a fine of up to EUR 300,000 (for natural persons), or a fine up to

EUR 1.5M and/or other sanctions (for legal persons).

Electronic Marketing

The Act does not contain explicit provisions with respect to electronic marketing. However the CNIL has issued guidelines on the basis of French consumer law and electronic communications law.

The CNIL distinguishes between B2B and B2C relationships.

In any event, all electronic marketing messages must specify the name of the advertiser and allow the recipient to object to the reception of similar messages in the future.

electronic marketing to consumers (B2c):

Electronic marketing activities are authorised provided that the recipient has given consent at

the time of collection of his/her email address. This principle does not apply when:

■     The concerned individual is already a customer of the company and if the marketing messages sent pertain to products or services similar to those already provided by the company.

■     The marketing messages are not commercial in nature.

In any event the concerned individual must be informed at the time of collection of his/her email address (i) that it will be used for electronic marketing activities (ii) that he/she may object to such use.

Electronic Marketing to Professionals (B2B):

Electronic marketing activities are authorized provided that the recipient has been informed at the time of collection of his/her email address (i) that it will be used for electronic marketing activities (ii) that he/she may object to such use.

The message sent must relate to the concerned individual’s professional activity.

Please note that email addresses such as contact@companyname.fr are not subject to prior consent and right to object.

Online Privacy (including cookies and Location Data)

Cookies – The EU Cookie Directive has been implemented in the Law. It states that any subscriber or user of electronic communications services must be fully and clearly informed by the data controller or its representative of (i) the purpose of any cookie (i.e. any means

of accessing or storing information on the subscriber’s/user’s computer), and (ii) the means of refusing cookies, unless the subscriber/user has already been so informed. Cookies are lawfully deployed only if the subscriber/user has expressed consent after having received such information.

However, the foregoing provisions do not apply (i) to cookies the sole purpose of which is to allow or facilitate electronic communication by a user, or (ii) if the cookie is strictly necessary to provide on line communication services specifically requested by the user.

In November 2011 and again in April 2012, the CNIL issued guidance for cookies.

The CNIL considers that certain cookies are not covered by the Law (e.g. cookies used to constitute a “basket” on a e-commerce platform, session ID cookies etc).

Regarding consent, the CNIL has specified that consent must be (i) freely given (i.e. in circumstances where the user has a choice to refuse consent), (ii) specific (i.e. relate to a specific cookie associated with a clearly defined purpose), and (iii) informed (i.e. the user must be given information beforehand, specifying the cookie’s purpose as well as the possibility to revoke consent). Valid consent can be expressed via browser settings if the user can choose the cookies he/she accepts and for which purpose. However, according to the CNIL, commonly used browsers do not offer compliant settings.

The CNIL regards the following consent collection mechanisms as compliant:

■     a banner at the top of a webpage;

■     a consent request zone overprinting on the site’s homepage; and

■     boxes to tick when registering for an online service.

The CNIL considers that the website owner is liable for allowing a third party to install a cookie on the user’s computer.

The April 2012 guidance also reaffirms that these rules apply to all cookies whether containing personal data or not.

The April 2012 guidance also reminds operators that non-compliance with French law can

Trigger financial penalties (see enforcement section).

Location and Traffic Data – The Postal and Electronic Communications Code deals with the collection and processing of location and traffic data by electronic communication service providers (“CSPs”).

All traffic data held by a CSP must be erased or anonymised. However, traffic data may be retained e.g.:

■     For the purpose of finding, observing and prosecuting criminal offences;

■     For the purpose of billing and payment of electronic communications services; or

■     for the CSP’s marketing of its own communication services, provided the user has given consent thereto.

Subject to exceptions (observing and prosecuting criminal offences; billing and payment of electronic communications services), location data may be used in very limited circumstances, e.g.:

■     During the communication, for the proper routing of such communication; or

■     Where the subscriber has given informed consent, in which case the location data may be processed and stored after the communication has ended.

(Entry into force on 1 March 1994)

It is prohibited for the administrators of social housing bodies and any individual employed by such bodies to receive, directly or through an intermediary and in whatever form, even through acquiring or conserving a stake in a company, any benefit whatsoever from the individuals involved in the sale or exchange of buildings constructed with the aforementioned bodies or with their clients, or from the architects and entrepreneurs carrying out the works on behalf of those bodies or their clients and, in general, from any supplier. Any breach of these prohibitions shall be punishable by a fine of 60,000 francs and three years’ imprisonment. The sanction is doubled for a repeat offence.

(Passed on 23 January 1986)

Article L. 4113-6 (former Article L.365-1)

Members of the medical professions mentioned in this Book shall be prohibited from receiving benefits in kind or pecuniary benefits, in any form whatsoever, directly or indirectly from companies supplying services or manufacturing or marketing products, where the cost of the services or products is reimbursed by compulsory social insurance schemes.

However, the above paragraph shall not apply to benefits covered by agreements concluded between the members of the said medical professions and companies, on condition that the express, real purpose of those agreements is the performance of research or scientific assessment activities, that they are submitted for opinion to the department council of the relevant professional association before being implemented, that they are notified to the head of any health establishment where the research or assessment activities are carried out, even in part, and that the remuneration is not calculated in proportion to the number of services or products prescribed, sold or provided.

Nor shall it apply to hospitality offered, directly or indirectly, at promotional events or events of an entirely professional or scientific nature, where covered by an agreement between the company and the health care professional, submitted for opinion to the department council of the relevant professional association before being implemented, and where that hospitality is of a reasonable level, remains accessory to the principal aim of the meeting and is not extended to persons other than the professionals directly concerned.

The agreements mentioned in the second and third paragraphs of this article shall be transmitted to the professional bodies concerned by the company. Where they are inter-département or national in scope, they shall be submitted for opinion to the national council of the relevant professional association, instead of the département councils, before being implemented.

This article shall not have the effect of making normal working relations subject to agreement or of prohibiting the funding of further training in the medical sector.

Article L.4163-2 (former Article 376-3)

Members of the medical professions mentioned in the present Book who directly or indirectly receive benefits in kind or pecuniary benefits, in any form whatsoever, from companies supplying services or manufacturing or marketing products the cost of which is reimbursed by compulsory social insurance schemes shall be liable to two years’ imprisonment and a fine of FRF 500,000.

In the event of a person’s being sentenced, the courts may temporarily ban that person from practising the profession for a period of ten years in addition to the main penalty.

However, these provisions shall not apply to the benefits mentioned in the second and third paragraphs of Article L.4113-6.

Article L.4113-8 (former Article L. 549)

Except in the cases provided for in Articles L. 4211-3 and L. 5125-2, the practitioners mentioned in this Book shall be prohibited from directly or indirectly receiving, in any form whatsoever, interest payments or rebates proportional or not to the number of units prescribed or sold, whether of medicines, orthopaedic equipment or other items of any kind.

It shall be forbidden to form or run companies with the manifest aim of obtaining the above-defined interest payments or rebates, granted to individuals themselves or to a group established for that purpose, or to practise the profession of pharmacist, doctor dentist or midwife with the same aim in mind.

The sale of medicines exclusively reserved, in any form whatsoever, for doctors benefiting from the authorisation provided for in Article L.4211-3 shall also be prohibited.

Article L.4163-4 (former Articles L.550 and L.549)

A fine of FRF 30,000 or, for a repeat offence, six months’ imprisonment and a fine of FRF 60,000 shall be incurred:

1. Except in the cases provided for in Articles L.4211-3 and L.5125-2, by anyone practising one of the medical professions mentioned in this Book, who directly or indirectly receives, in any form whatsoever, interest payments or rebates proportional or not to the number of units prescribed or sold, whether of medicines, orthopaedic equipment or other items of any kind.

2. For forming or running companies with the manifest aim of obtaining the above-defined interest payments or rebates, granted to individuals themselves or to a group established for that purpose, or practising the profession of pharmacist, doctor dentist or midwife with the same aim in mind.

3. For selling medicines exclusively reserved, in any form whatsoever, for doctors benefiting from the authorisation provided for in Article L.4211-3.

In addition to the main penalty the courts may order a temporary ban on practising the profession for a period of one to ten years.

Pharmacists co-principals in the commission of an offence shall incur the same penalties.

Article L.4311-28 (former Article L.510-9-2)

The provisions of Articles L.4113-5, L.4113-6 and L.4113-8 shall apply to the nursing profession.

Article L.4343-1 (former Article L.510-9-2)

The provisions of Articles L.4113-5, L.4113-6 and L.4113-8 shall apply to the professions of speech therapist and orthoptist.

Article L.4321-20 (former Article L.510-9-2)

The provisions of Articles L.4113-5, L.4113-6, L.4113-8 to L.4113-12, L.4122-2, L.4123-15, L.4123-16, L.4124-1 to L.4124-8, L.4125-1 to L.4125-4, L.4126-1 to L.4126-8, L.4132-6, L.4132-9, L.4132-10 except for the last two paragraphs, L.4152-9 and L.4152-10 shall apply to physiotherapists.

Article L.4314-6 (former Article L.510-9-4)

The offences mentioned in Articles L.4163-2, L.4163-3 and L.4163-4 shall apply to the nursing profession and shall carry a sentence of two years’ imprisonment and a fine of FRF 500,000. In the event of a person’s being sentenced, the courts may temporarily ban that person from practising the profession for a period of ten years at most in addition to the main penalty.

Article L.4323-6 (former Article L.510-9-4)

The offences mentioned in Articles L.4163-2, L.4163-3 and L.4163-4 shall apply to physiotherapists and shall carry a sentence of two years’ imprisonment and a fine of FRF 500,000.

In the event of a person’s being sentenced, the courts may temporarily ban that person from practising the profession for a period of ten years at most in addition to the main penalty.

Article L.4344-3 (former Article L.510-9-4)

The offences mentioned in Articles L.4163-2, L.4163-3 and L.4163-4 shall apply to the professions of speech therapist and orthoptist and shall carry a sentence of two years’ imprisonment and a fine of FRF 500,000.

In the event of a person’s being sentenced, the courts may temporarily ban that person from practising the profession for a period of ten years at most in addition to the main penalty.

(Passed on 16 December 1992, amended on 1 March 1994)

The act, by any manager or employee, of requesting or receiving, directly or through an intermediary, without the knowledge or authorisation of his employer, offers, promises, donations, gifts, discounts or bonuses to carry out or refrain from an act in accordance with or facilitated by his function, shall be punishable by two years’ imprisonment and a fine of 200,000 francs (1).

The same sanctions shall be applicable to the act of granting the benefits solicited in the aforegoing paragraph or of proposing them.

In the cases provided for in the present article, the court may also impose the additional sanction, for a maximum duration of five years, of the loss of civic, civil and family rights as provided for in Article 131-26 of the Criminal Code.

(1) Fine applicable since 1 March 1994.

Police Background Check Procedures

Who can apply?

• Applications are accepted from individuals and only in rare occasions (such as incapacity or applications for a minor) by third parties.

Where?

There are five possible application routes:
• online
• by fax
• in person
• by email
• by post
Online applications are only available for French nationals, but all the other routes are open to foreign nationals.
The online application is a short process, at the webpage below.
Postal applications are accepted either with a covering letter, or a completed application form, found at the link below.

What must the applicant supply?

Online applications require (for French nationals only):
• Gender
• Full name, and maiden name if appropriate
• Place of birth
• Date of birth
• Address to which the bulletin (certificate) should be sent
Postal applications require:
• EITHER a completed application form with the information as
for online applications,
• OR a covering letter containing the information requesting the disclosure
• It is advisable to include authorised copies of passport and/or identity card, so as to prevent delays
• Filiation details (details of the applicant ́s parents)
• Applicant ́s signature
Fax applications require:
• A completed application form with the information as for online applications
• It is advisable to include authorised copies of passport and/or identity card, so as to prevent delays
• Filiation details (details of the applicant ́s parents)
• Applicant ́s signature
Personal applications require:
• The applicants ́ passport or national identity card.
• If a third party has been nominated, a power of attorney with authorised copies of the applicant ́s passport/identity card and the third party ́s own passport or identity card.

What are the costs/turnaround?

• There is no fee for the issue of the certificate
.• The applicant must only pay for the postage of their letter/form to the CJN, who pay for the return postage.
• Turnaround of in-person applications is instant.
• Online applications are dealt with the same day, and the certificate will be received by post (registered/standard) within a few days.
• Post applications are dealt with as quickly as possible, normally within 2 weeks.
• There is no fast track service available.

Contact Details

Online application: https://www.cjn.justice.gouv.fr/cjn/b3/eje20c(French language only)
Postal/fax application form: http://www.vosdroits.justice.gouv.fr/art_pix/Form10071v04.pdf (French language only)
To be sent to:
Casier Judiciaire National
107 rue du Landreau
44317
Nantes
Tel: + (0033) 2 51 89 89 51
Fax: + (0033) 2 51 89 89 17/18
Website: https://www.cjn.justice.gouv.fr/cjn/b3/eje20
Email: cjn@justice.gouv.fr
French Embassy
58 Knightsbridge
London
SW1X 7JT
Tel: 020 7073 1000
Fax: 020 7073 1004
Email: consulat.londres -fslt@diplomatie.fr

France – Know Your Customer (KYC) Rules

France remains an attractive venue for money laundering because of its sizable economy, political stability, and sophisticated financial system. Narcotics and human trafficking, smuggling, and other crimes associated with organized crime are among its vulnerabilities.

France can designate portions of its customs territory as free trade zones and free warehouses in return for commitments in favor of employment. France has taken advantage of these regulations in several specific instances. The French Customs Service administers these zones.

KNOW-YOUR-CUSTOMER (KYC) RULES:

Enhanced due diligence procedures for PEPs:

PEP is an abbreviation for Politically Exposed Person, a term that describes a person who has been entrusted with a prominent public function, or an individual who is closely related to such a person. The terms PEP, Politically Exposed Person and Senior Foreign Political Figure are often used interchangeably

    • Foreign PEP: YES
    • Domestic PEP: YES

France – KYC covered entities

The following is a list of Know Your Customer entities covered by French Law:

    • Banks
    • Credit institutions
    • Money-issuing institutions
    • Investment firms
    • Money exchangers
    • Investment management companies
    • Mutual insurers and benefit institutions
    • Insurance brokers and intermediaries
    • Notaries
    • Receivers and trustees in bankruptcy
    • Financial investment advisors
    • Real estate brokers
    • Chartered accountants
    • Auditors
    • Dealers in high-value goods
    • Auctioneers and auction houses
    • Bailiffs
    • Lawyers
    • Participants in stock exchange settlement and delivery
    • Commercial registered office providers
    • Gaming centers
    • Companies involved in sports bets and horse-racing tips

France – Suspicious Transaction Reporting (STR) Requirements:

Number of STRs received and time frame: 20,252 in 2010

The following is a list of STR covered entities covered by French Law:

    • Banks
    • Credit institutions
    • Money-issuing institutions
    • Investment firms
    • Money exchangers
    • Investment management companies
    • Mutual insurers and benefit institutions
    • Insurance brokers and intermediaries
    • Notaries
    • Receivers and trustees in bankruptcy
    • Financial investment advisors
    • Real estate brokers
    • Chartered accountants
    • Auditors
    • Dealers in high-value goods
    • Auctioneers and auction houses
    • Bailiffs
    • Lawyers
    • Participants in stock exchange settlement and delivery
    • Commercial registered office providers
    • Gaming centers
    • Companies involved in sports bets and horse-racing tips

MONEY LAUNDERING CRIMINAL PROSECUTIONS/CONVICTIONS:

Prosecutions: 276 in 2010
Convictions: 35 in 2010

ENFORCEMENT AND IMPLEMENTATION ISSUES AND COMMENTS:

The French government has a comprehensive anti-money laundering/counter-terrorist financing (AML/CFT) regime and is an active partner in international efforts to control money laundering and terrorist financing. France maintains the ability to designate individuals or entities under French domestic authorities in addition to those designated by European Union (EU) regulations. France and the Unites States have exchanged large amounts of data in connection with money laundering and terrorist financing. France still does not have the capacity to share forfeited assets with other jurisdictions.

France applies the 2006/70/CE European Union directive by which politically exposed persons from the EU states may benefit from simplified vigilance procedures, but only in a limited number of cases.

In September 2011 the Prudential Control Authority (ACP) took several measures to improve its ability to fight money laundering and terrorism financing. The ACP has provided guidelines to help financial institutions define and research ―the effective beneficiary‖ of money laundering or terrorism financing. The ACP also has defined new reporting obligations for money exchangers.

France should continue its active participation in international organizations and its outreach to lower-capacity recipient countries to combat the domestic and global threats of money laundering and terrorist financing.

Risk

Sovereign risk

Amid a protracted period of weak growth, the government is slowing the pace of fiscal consolidation. The Economist Intelligence Unit estimates the budget deficit at 4.4% of GDP in 2014 (from 4.1% of GDP in 2013); we forecast a narrowing to 4.3% and 3.7% of GDP in 2015 and 2016 respectively. The deficit will not contract to the Maastricht ceiling of 3% of GDP until 2019. Public debt will rise throughout the forecast period, reaching 101% of GDP in 2016.

Banking sector risk

With one minor exception, Caisse de refinancement de l’habitat (CRH), France’s banking sector was given a clean bill of health in the asset quality review and stress tests conducted across the euro zone in 2014. This has bolstered confidence in the country’s lenders, but weak economic growth coupled with businesses’ weak profitability will continue to weigh on the sector.

Political risk

Following a reshuffle in August 2014, the government is more unified in its commitment to structural reform. However, it does not appear to have the kind of political capital that would be required to push through radical rather than incremental changes ahead of the next presidential election in 2017. There are indications that the mainstream centre-right opposition is stabilising after a period of disarray, but the far-right populist Front national (FN) has made rapid gains and represents a source of considerable political risk. The FN now frequently comes first in opinion polls, and terrorist attacks in Paris in early January 2015 are likely to boost support for its tough anti-Islam rhetoric over the medium term. Tensions between the EU and Russia remain elevated; we expect the EU’s current sanctions regime to remain in place until July 2015, at which point the difficulty of securing unanimous agreement to renew the sanctions will lead to them lapsing or being eased significantly.

Economic structure risk

Weak competitiveness and the need for fiscal consolidation will continue to weigh on France’s economic prospects over the medium term.

Travel Risk

Security

The decision to travel is your responsibility. You are also responsible for your personal safety abroad. The purpose of this Travel Advice is to provide up-to-date information to enable you to make well-informed decisions.

Crime

Petty crime (pickpocketing and purse snatching) occur in major tourist areas, in department stores, in train and bus stations and aboard public transport, especially in larger cities. Purse snatchers operate both on foot and on motorcycles. These thieves are very skilled and often work in groups.

There has been a significant increase in violent theft on public transportation in Paris and its suburbs. Thieves often use violence (bag snatching) and target people talking on phones. Limit the use of mobile phones while on public transportation to avoid attracting attention.

If you are robbed, go to the nearest commissariat de police (police station) to report the crime. They will provide you with a declaration of theft. Keep a copy of this document, as you will need it if you require a new passport or you wish to make an insurance claim. If the theft occurred in the metro, you may ask for assistance from a metro agent, who will direct you to the nearest police station.

Vigipirate Alert System

The French government maintains a government alert system, Vigipirate (French only), the purpose of which is to protect the country’s population, infrastructures and institutions, and to prepare response measures in case of attack. French authorities increased the Vigipirate alert to the highest level (terrorist alert) for the ÃŽle-de-France region (Paris and the outlying areas) following the January 2015 attacks in France. A œheightened alert is in effect for the rest of the country. Expect tighter security measures and increased police/military presence at airports and near media offices, shopping centres, places of worship, schools and public transportation in affected areas. Remain vigilant, keep informed of the current situation and follow the advice of local authorities.

Road travel

Roads in France are well maintained. Drive defensively and obey traffic regulations. Excessive speeding poses a risk.

There is a high frequency of vehicle break-ins. Leave nothing in view in the vehicle and above all do not leave valuable objects, passports, money or credit cards in a vehicle. As well, never leave personal belongings unattended and use secure parking facilities, especially overnight. Be vigilant when renting automobiles, as rented vehicles are target of choice.

Theft of parked cars or their contents is particularly common on beach roads in Corsica. There are also reports of thefts from vehicles parked at Normandy beaches and war cemeteries.

Always be suspicious if individuals signal for you to stop on the highway. Drivers are often tricked into stopping their cars by thieves who either obstruct the road or distract the driver (for example by flashing their headlights). They may also pretend that you have a flat tire (which they sometimes puncture themselves). Once the vehicle is stopped, the thieves seize the opportunity to steal a bag or other valuable objects. Aggravated thefts sometimes occur at isolated rest stops along highways.

Be especially vigilant when stopped at traffic lights, as bags are often snatched from the front passenger seat by thieves travelling on scooters. Keep windows closed and doors locked at all times.

Demonstrations

Strikes, student demonstrations, labour unrest and other protests occur occasionally. They can lead to significant disruptions to public transportation and postal services. Avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings as they have the potential to suddenly turn violent. Follow the advice of local authorities and monitor local media.

Public Transportation

Major cities have an effective public transportation system and are served by an extensive intercity rail network.

See Transportation Safety in order to verify if national airlines meet safety standards.

General safety information

Exercise normal safety precautions. Never leave your bags unsupervised at a ticket office or a registration desk. Ensure that your personal belongings, passports and other travel documents are secure at all times. Ensure as well that your credit and debit cards, cash and any other financial resources are not all kept in the same place. Avoid showing signs of affluence and carrying large sums of cash.

You are strongly advised to keep photocopies of the identification page of your passport, as well as your birth certificate, Canadian citizenship card, driver’s licence, train or plane tickets and credit cards. Keep originals and copies in a safe but separate place. If possible, consider scanning these documents and saving the files in your email account.

Emergency services

Dial 112 for emergency assistance.

Address Format

RECIPIENT

[APARTMENT] [BUILDING]
HOUSE_NUMBER [STREET_TYPE] STREET_NAME [DEPENDENT_LOCALITY]
POSTAL_CODE LOCALITY
FRANCE

Sample

JACQUES BENOIT
PARC CLUB DU MOULIN A VENT
22 ALLEE PICARD
69200 VENISSIEUX
FRANCE

Summary

Calendar GMT Reference Actual Previous Consensus Forecast
2015-02-13 06:30 AM Q4 0.2% 0.4% 0.16%
2015-03-26 07:45 AM Q4 0.2% 0.4% 0.2% 0.2%
2015-05-13 06:30 AM Q1 0.7% 0.2% 0.06%
2015-06-26 07:45 AM Q1 0.0% 0.7% 0.7%
2015-08-14 06:30 AM Q2
2015-09-23 07:45 AM Q2

 

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