2017 started off with uncertainty: rising populism in France, the first few steps towards Brexit as well as Trump’s controversial Tweets, amongst many others.
Yet we end 2017 in calmness, although not quite with solutions for all major current issues: President Macron and his reforms have revived France’s appeal, Brexit negotiations have finally moved into their second commercial phase and the USA have sustained their economic stability and are engaging in a fiscal reform.
Some would say that the glass is only half full. There are still a lot of reforms left to do in France and the public deficit remains close to the 3% mark whilst the unemployment rate barely moves. However, France’s economic growth is at its highest in six years. Brexit is undoubtedly the most delicate situation at this time, as Donald Tusk, President of the European Commission explained in a recent speech: “[The chances of reaching a deal before 31st March 2019] are still possible but of course they are incredibly difficult to reach. I think that the second phase will be a lot more demanding than the first.” Yet the primary need is to agree on a transition period in order to allow a realistic implementation of this eventual agreement.
We will certainly have the opportunity in 2018 to discuss the developments in detail and to gather your opinions and suggestions to encourage an agreement nearer to your priorities, like what we have done in 2017 to accelerate the start of this second phase of Brexit negotiations.
Being at the end of the year, I want to thank you for your support and for providing such a special atmosphere at the core of the Franco-British community. I would like to give another warm welcome to the hundred new members who have joined us in 2017.
On behalf of the whole team at the Franco-British Chamber, we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year spent with family and friends, wherever in the world you may be and in whichever language you are speaking. Here’s to an optimistic outlook for 2018.