This page is one of the annex pages of www.understandfrance.org, the foremost site on Franco-American intercultural differences. It contains documents, facts and figures illustrating the content of some of its pages.

Facts & figures.

This page contains Facts and Figures about France and the French. Some are significant, other less so....

(credit)
 Europe    Miscellaneous quotes

 About protectionism : in 2013, European and American complaints to WTO are strangely symetrical (Source : Le Monde May 15, 2013) :

Among 19 US complaints to WTO : Among 32 European complaints to WTO :
Governments' funding of Airbus Government's funding of Boeing
Prohibition of hormone beef and GMO Quotas on imported steel
Prohibition of chloride-washed meat (chickens) Anti-dumping regulation
Protection of AOC products (see definition) Limitations on imports of wine

 

 

About war, Fletcher Crossman, an Englishman, writes (International Herald Tribune,Jan.28, 2004) : "(This) feeling has never been totally expunged from the European psyche. However clear-cut the rationale sounds at the start of a war, the reality always results in atrocities, injustices and moral ambiguity...... America emerged from the devastation in a pre-eminent position, its infrastructure intact. .... America is the brave young soldier, with shining eyes and a firm jaw, marching towards a battle that will make the world a better place. Europe is the bitter old veteran sitting on the sidewalk, his medals collecting dust somewhere, shaking his head knowingly as the young soldier passes by. Both views are valid and both are forged in the furnace of experience.... Perhaps Europeans don't have the most courageous of instincts. Not anymore. They still live in the shadow of two unthinkable wars, and have learnt that patriotism and courageous instincts have too often resulted in corruption, destruction and death.'

 

 About France and the French

  • "Vous les Français, vous oscillez entre l'arrogance et l'autoflagellation, reussissant même à cultiver les deux à la fois. Vous pratiquez l'arrogance, dernier vestige du temps de votre puissance perdue et vous vous flagellez, complexés par l'obsession de ne pas parvenir à ce que vous imaginez être l'efficacité américaine. A titre de francophone du Québec dont les racines françaises remontent au XVIIème siècle, je ne vous laisserai pas me renvoyer de vous cette image déprimante d'un peuple qui semble se convaincre que ses forces sont ses faiblesses et vice-versa.Tant que je parlerai français, que je lirai en français, que je rêverai en français, je m'autorise le droit de vous critiquer. Car je refuse que vous bradiez une partie du patrimoine culturel que je partage avec vous" (Denise Bombardier)
  • "What's a Frenchman ? An Italian in a bad mood" (Jean Cocteau)
  • "If France was a stock, I'd sell it" (Thomas Friedman)
  • " There is a nation that the French treat with more grudge that Germany, more anger than Italy, more unfairness than Britain. It is toward the French that the French express the most savage animosity, more ceaseless and more inequitable than with the citizens of any other nation : Gallus gallo lupus " (John H.Motley)
  • "The French constitute the most brilliant and the most dangerous nation in Europe and the best qualified in turn to become an object of admiration, hatred, pity or terror but never indifference" (Alexis de Tocqueville)
  • "France has neither winter, summer, nor morals. Apart from that, it is a fine country" (Mark Twain)
  • "I do not dislike the French for the vulgar antipathy between neighbouring nations, but for their insolent and unfounded airs of superiority" (Horace Walpole)
  • "I do not believe there is another city on earth so beautiful as Paris nor another people with such an appreciation of the beautiful as the French..... The light was different from anything I had known. The shadows were luminous, more reflected light. Even under the bridges there was a certain luminosity." (Edward Hopper, after he stayed in Paris in 1906-1907)
  • "America is my country, and Paris is my hometown" (Gertrude Stein)

Europe economic

 

 

 

 

 About America and Americans

  • (a strongly prejudiced one) "America is the only nation in history which miraculously has gone directly from barbarism to degeneration without the usual interval of civilization" (Georges Clémenceau)
  • "America is my country and Paris is my hometown" (Gertrude Stein)
  • "when good Americans die, they go to Paris" (Oscar Wilde)

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Europe economic strength : the 28 European countries as compared (1994-2014) to the USA and the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India,China) :

   
1994
2014
% of Global GNP Europe
30,3%
24%
BRICs
6,5%
21,2%
USA
27,8%
22,8%
% of Global Commercial Exports Europe
41,2%
32,3%
BRICs
5,9%
17,5%
USA
11,8%
8,4%
% of Global Commercial Imports Europe
39,4%
31,3%
BRICs
5,2%
16%
USA
16,6%
12,4%
Total population (million) Europe
481
510
BRICs
2472
3006
USA
265
323
   
2003
2013
Number of universities among the 200 first (Shanghai ranking) Europe
68
62
BRICs
2
8
USA
93
85

(Source : Le Monde 15/5/2014, IMF, WTO data)

  • Do you feel European ? Poll (Eurobaromètre, April 2000) of 16,000 European citizens : Question 1 : Do you feel exclusively European? European and national ? National and European ? Exclusively national ? Question 2 : Favorable opinion toward the European Union ?

   Fra.  Ger.  Aus.  Bel.  Den.  Spa.  Fin.  Gre.  Ire.  Ita.  Lux.  Net.  Por.  GB.  Swe.  Total
 Question 1 : National and European  48  37  42  42  37  53  35  38  38  56  41  41  42  24  32  42
 Question 2 : favorable  50  49  45  56  56  66  47  61  84  62  83  74  70  31  39  51

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  • "The battle for Britain's euro entry lies in exploding the myths of Brussels' power" : The Independent (Sept.17, 2003) wrote a very interesting article with the following comparison :

 Myth

 Reality
 The EU constitution would lead to British taxes being set by Brussels  It does not give EU states a power to fix or harmonize direct taxation. Britain has indicated it would block any future proposals on this matter.
 The constitution would allow the EU to alter the welfare system if a majority of member states voted in favor of it  All decisions on social security must be made by unanimous voting by member states. Sinc the UK has a veto in the EU council of ministers, Brussels' law-making body, we could always rule this out.
 Once the EU constitution is ratified, the British legal system will be harmonized and a European public prosecutor would take charge of criminal cases in this country  This is an option, but it would have to be voted on. All 25 member states- including 10 new accession countries joining in May 2004- would have to agree to the proposal.
 The EU is poised to take hold of Britain's multimillion-pound oil reserves, and seize hold of "energy supplies". Brussels would eb able to transfer control of North Sea oil, gas and coal to an EU state is there is a global energy crisis.  Article III-152 of the draft treaty aims to preserve the environment while maintening a single market. It is a restatement of existing rules, which UK ministers already agreed to. The clause would not allow Brussels to seize Britain's oil stock.
 The EU constitution would stop the Queen being head of state.  There is no truth in this. A permanent President of the Council of Ministers is to be appointed. The president will have no law-making powers. Also, the EU is not a state.
 The Euro is holding back living standards and countries that joined the signgle currency have lagged further behind the US economy.  Over the past three years, GDP per capita has risen by 5.9% in the EU, but only 1% in the US.
 Joining the euro has hampered investment and not boosted eurozone growth.  Cross-border investment in the eurozone is rising as a result of a common currency. Since the euro was launched, foreign investment in Britain has fallen sharply.
 Who Wants to be a Millionaire? is to be scrapped because of a looming EU ban on competition with prizes of more than £70,000.  An amendment to a proposal that "individual prizes awarded in promotional games may not exceed Euro 100,000" was tabled in the Council of Ministers. But it would have nothing to do with Who Wants to be a Millionaire? because the quiz is not a "promotional game".
 Britain will be flooded with immigrant workers after EU enlargement.  Ten states are to join next year. There is no evidence that Eastern Europeans will want to work in Britain. There were similar predictions when Greece joined the EU in 1981 but they proved wrong. The right to work and live in another EU state is reciprocal.
 Smokey-bacon flavoured crisps are to be banned under new Euro regulation.  The EU Parliament wants to take action because they may contain cancer-causing agents. The proposed directive would establish a testing system, but not a ban on safe products.
 The European Commission wil abolisk the .uk on British internet addresses.  A .eu domain name will not replace the .uk, but il will be an option.
 Fish and chip shop owners could be forced to sell fish using their Latin name.  The Commission wants clearer labelling on fish products. The measure will stop retailers passing off cheaper fillets for cod or plaice. All labels will be in living languages.
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Harriet Welty Rochefort writes articles and books about France and the French. Order her books :

  • "Joie de Vivre", Secrets of Wining, Dining and Romancing like the French, St.Martin's Press, New York, 2012
  • "French Toast, An American in Paris Celebrates The Maddening Mysteries of the French", St.Martin's Press, New York, 1999
  • "French Fried, The Culinary Capers of An American in Paris", St.Martin's Press, New York, 2001

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