France is a central link between northern and Mediterranean countries. Its population is 65 million, with over 2.2 million living in the capital, Paris. The population is expected to reach 68 million by 2030, with the proportion of people over 65 increasing from 26% to 39% over the same period. French is the official language and 85% of the population are Catholic. The Euro is the official currency. The standard VAT rate is 19.6%.

 France                             Capital: Paris



65 million à 68 million (2030)

Proportion of people over 65 is 26% à 39% (2030)




85% Catholic

GDP / head (2010)

€ 29,800   (EU average: € 24,400)





GDP growth (volume)



0.4% in 2012 (f)

1.4% in 2013 (f)

Unemployment rate

(Feb 2012)

10.0%   (EU average: 10.2%)

Inflation rate

2.3%   (EU average: 3.1%)


Figures relate to 2011, except where indicated.                                      Source: Eurostat, Searce (2012)


France has a GDP per capita of €29,800, compared to the EU average of €24,400 in 2010. According to the OECD, the French economy grew by 1.6% in 2011, and is expected to grow by 0.3% in 2012 and 1.4% in 2013 (compared to the Eurozone average of 1.6%, 0.2% and 1.4% respectively). The inflation rate was 2.7% in 2011, compared to 3% in the EU. The unemployment rate was 9.8%, the same as the EU average as a whole in 2011.

The French tend to separate their personal from their professional lives in how they relate with people. Good courtesy and formality are important aspects of business etiquette. Attention to detail is important in the content of business presentations and confirmation of small detail is usually required before committing to agreements.