"My country, right or wrong"

“My country, right or wrong”

My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right” (Carl Schurz, 1872, German revolutionary who went on to become a US Senator and General)

Welcome, dear non-French readers, to my website. While my team is currently working on a proper English translation of my various publications, op-eds and interviews, here are a few words for the time being.

Why bother visiting a French website, which will likely discuss chiefly French and European matters?

Well, here are a few reasons: 

1. You will probably agree with me that, as of today, France has become Europe’s sick man. Not unlike Great Britain in the pre-Thatcher, 1970 years, the nation suffers from runaway deficits, weak and indecisive political leadership, excessive borrowing and government spending, and trade unions which represent only their self-interests while holding back the entire country, etc.

2. It is indeed very likely that at some point in the foreseeable future – most certainly by the end of the decade – that France will become embroiled in a shameful and dangerous situation. Will it be the IMF coming to our doorstep to prevent French bankruptcy, the same way they helped Britain avoid catastrophe in 1976? Perhaps. Will it be France and Germany drifting so far apart economically that both the euro and the European Union will disintegrate? Possibly.

3. Make no mistake: should any of these events occur, not only Europe (Britain included) but the rest of the world would become a very dangerous place. If Europe implodes, China will likely suffer as well: its main customer will not be here to fuel the 7% annual growth their export-driven economy so desperately needs to maintain political stability. I can think of no major US bank able to weather such a severe financial storm as the disintegration of the euro. If France goes into a form of financial or civil turmoil, there is certainly no way that its neighbours in Europe and North Africa would be immune from such unrest.

4. Whether you like it or not, what happens here in Paris will have dire consequences around the world -whether you live in Berlin, Beijing, Riyad, Algiers, or New York.

5. On this website, you will find a number of analyses and variety of recommendations on the French situation, which you will not encounter among other traditional, mainstream, Paris-based, French intellectuals with an international perspective.

6. What qualifies me to express and publish these opinions?

I am a 44 year-old French essayist, editorialist, author, teacher, and political and economic consultant.

As of July 2014, I serve as Director of the Paris bureau for the European Council on Foreign Relations, a pan-European think tank working to develop an effective and united European stance on foreign policy. At ECFR, I hope to contribute my expertise in the economic, digital, and financial sphere towards the development of the geoeconomics programme, which I believe will be crucial in this sensitive time for Europe.

Through my work as the Founding and Managing Partner of Mediafin, I act as a trusted financial advisor to a number of European industrial families, financial institutions and CEOs of European Fortune 500 companies. (www.mediafin.fr).
Aside from these activities, I teach courses in the management of corporations in times of financial crisis at HEC, the leading business school in Europe. I also write a weekly column in the leading French business newspaper, Les Echos.

As a “Young Leader” of the France China Foundation, I travel frequently to China and seek to foster a strong and sustainable relationship with prominent Chinese leaders and thinkers of today. I have had various opportunities to address corporate audiences and executive committees through management seminars and industry conferences in order to present current macroeconomic or financial perspectives.

Equity investors may remember some of my contrarian calls in the previous decade when, as a sell-side media financial analyst, I called the internet dot.com crash (“take your e-profits before a potential e-crash”, Credit Lyonnais Securities Europe research note, 16 March 2000). Or, my prediction of the near-bankruptcy of Vivendi Universal (“Mercury Rising”, Credit Lyonnais Securities Europe, March 2002) and the forced resignation of its CEO Jean-Marie Messier).

In the United States, where I lived from 2007 to 2010 (New York City), I now act as as trustee of the Washington DC- based think tank CED, Committee for Economic Development, whose founders played a central role in drafting the Marshall Plan in the 1940s. I am also a member of the Advisory Board of La Maison Française at Columbia University.

A 1992 HEC graduate with a major in Entrepreneurship, I was educated at the Paris Jesuit school Saint Louis de Gonzague.

I am a strong supporter of a more politically united Europe, and launched the websites www.etatsunisdeurope.com and www.reseteurope.com in this respect.