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France Country Report

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Risk Level

Low
Moderate
Elevated
High
Very High
Severe
Extreme

Overview

Executive Summary

Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire has announced that the government will implement fiscal measures worth EUR45 billion to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak. Measures include tax payment deferrals and loans to affected businesses. The government also introduced a 15-day lockdown on 17 March to contain the spread of COVID-19 and suspended all reforms, including the recently adopted pension reform.The introduction of restrictive measures on public gatherings and rallies is unlikely to reduce the high risk of violence during protests across France amid the COVID-19 virus outbreak. Although participation numbers are likely to drop, a minority of ‘Yellow Vest’, black bloc, and anarchist demonstrators are likely to remain defiant and continue engaging in violent confrontations with the police. The risk of protest-associated property damage to retail shops, banks, and vehicles will also remain high.The COVID-19 outbreak will have a very large negative impact on the French economy, which is now expected to contract in 2020. We expect the shock to be particularly acute during the second quarter. We assume the recovery will start by the end of this year, although this will depend on whether the spread of the virus is contained by then. The French government has substantially relaxed fiscal policy to support the economy, providing financial support to firms and households, as well as loan guarantees to business hit by the fall in activity. As a result, the fiscal deficit will widen substantially in 2020, but borrowing costs are expected to remain very low. The risk of Islamist terrorist attacks in France is persistently high. Low-capability, lone-actor attacks involving vehicles, blades, and/or firearms are far more likely to succeed than sophisticated plots as they require a minimal amount of organisation and little, if any, communication between different parties. Islamist militants will prioritise indiscriminate attacks against congregations of civilians, or targeted assaults on security personnel.
Last update: March 21, 2020

Operational Outlook

Industrial action in France is frequent and well organised, often hampering business operations. The transport sector is frequently affected, with the most significant delays and cancellations in the one-year outlook likely to occur in the rail and aviation industries, as well as potential road blockades by truck drivers, rail workers, and other protest groups. In response to contested government reforms, trade unionists could also attempt to target oil refineries and depots with blockades, or cut the power supply to symbolic assets. Transport infrastructure in the capital is likely to be improved by the "New Greater Paris" project, due to be completed by 2030.

Last update: February 8, 2020

Terrorism

High

There is a high likelihood of attacks by Islamist militants using blades, firearms, or vehicles, as seen in the July 2016 Nice attack. Co-ordinated, marauding attacks such as those in Paris in November 2015 are less likely and would be rapidly neutralised given the greater preparedness of security forces. With 20,000 individuals suspected by the French authorities of having been radicalised, security forces are overstretched and unable to comprehensively mitigate the heightened threat despite having been granted greater powers and additional funding in 2015. Attacks against Muslim individuals and assets have been steadily increasing and tend to spike following jihadist attacks.

Last update: February 8, 2020

Crime

France has led international efforts to counter financial crime and tax evasion although these remain issues. Gang crime remains prevalent in southern French cities, such as Marseille and Grenoble. Corsican mafia groups are prevalent in both Corsica itself and southern French cities, although a combination of assassinations of senior figures and police investigations has hindered their operational ability in recent years. France is exposed to the trafficking of firearms from the Balkans, although since the uptick in terrorist attacks in 2015, greater efforts have been taken to stem their flow.

Last update: January 23, 2020

War Risks

War risks on French soil are minimal given the country’s favourable relations with its neighbours. Despite significant cuts to the defence budget, France is planning to reinforce its strong military presence, and capacity to intervene, in its former African colonies. The stated goals of French intervention centre on preventing humanitarian disaster, disrupting terrorist networks, restoring territorial integrity and national sovereignty, and consolidating political processes leading to democratic elections. France will continue to play a prominent role in the fight against global terrorism and is a key player in the campaign against the Islamic State in Iraq, Syria, and Libya.

Last update: January 23, 2020

Social Stability

High

Protests attracting up to hundreds of thousands of participants are common in France. There is a high risk of large unstructured and leaderless anti-government protests, orchestrated on social media and expressed through road blockades and frequently violent rallies, particularly in Paris, Lyon, Bordeaux, Lille, Nantes, and Montpellier.The most likely trigger for riots in suburban areas is perceived police brutality or discrimination against members of minority ethnic groups. In 2020, there is a heightened risk of frequent union-organised nationwide protests in major cities due to the introduction of further unpopular reforms, particularly the overhaul of the pension system.

Last update: January 17, 2020

Health Risk

Low

Vaccinations required to enter the country

No vaccinations are required to enter the country.

Routine Vaccinations

Hepatitis B: A vaccine is available for children at least two months old.

Diphtheria-Tetanus-Polio: A booster shot should be administered if necessary (once every ten years).

Other Vaccinations

Tick-Borne Encephalitis: For stays in rural zones and for hiking enthusiasts (for children over the age of one).

For Children: All standard childhood immunizations should be up-to-date. In the case of a long stay, the BCG vaccine is recommended for children over one month and the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine for children over nine months.

Last update: November 20, 2019

Natural Risks

Very high

The risk of flooding is relatively high; 5 to 7 percent of France's territory is located in flood zones. In November 1999, flooding in areas of Aude and Pyrénées-Orientales departments left some 30 people dead. Strong winter storms, such as Xynthia in February 2010, also occasionally strike the country. This storm brought violent winds and very high tides, which generated unprecedented flooding, leaving some 40 people dead, principally in the Vendée, Charente-Maritime, and des Côtes d'Armor departments. In October 2015, floods in the southeast of the country killed at least 18 people. More recently, in February 2017, the French Meteorological Institute - Météo France - issued red alerts for several departments, including Charente, Charente-Maritime, and Gironde, due to severe wind.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Practical Information

Climate

France has a temperate climate with four main climatic regions.

In the west, the climate is oceanic and humid, with mild winters and relatively cool summers.

The climate in Alsace, Lorraine, along the Rhone corridor, and in mountainous regions (Alps, Pyrenees, Central Massif) is semi-continental with harsh winters and hot summers.

In the north (Paris and Central Region), winters are cold and summers hot.

The south of France enjoys a Mediterranean climate with mild winters and hot summers.

Useful Numbers

Country Code: +33
Police: 17
Fire Dept.: 18
UAS: 15

Electricity

Voltage: 230 V ~ 50 Hz

Outlets:

Last update: April 5, 2019