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 FRENCH POLITICAL
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Background: Although ultimately a victor in World Wars I and II, France suffered extensive losses in its empire, wealth, manpower, and rank as a dominant nation-state. Nevertheless, France today is one of the most modern countries in the world and is a leader among European nations. Since 1958, it has constructed a presidential democracy resistant to the instabilities experienced in earlier parliamentary democracies. In recent years, its reconciliation and cooperation with Germany have proved central to the economic integration of Europe, including the introduction of a common exchange currency, the euro, in January 1999. At present, France is at the forefront of efforts to develop the EU's military capabilities to supplement progress toward an EU foreign policy.
 
 
Common Name: France Local Official Name: France
Abbreviated Name: French Republic Official Name: Republique Francaise
Official Script Name: France Local Common Name: France
Former Name: France Territory of: NA
 
Head of State: President Jacques CHIRAC
 
Government Type: republic
 
Independence: 486 (unified by Clovis)
 
Constitution: 1958 September 28 (amended concerning election of president in 1962, amended to comply with provisions of EC Maastricht Treaty in 1992, Amsterdam Treaty in 1996, Treaty of Nice in 2000; amended to tighten immigration laws 1993)
 
National Holiday: Bastille Day, 14 July
 
International Organization Participation: ABEDA, ACCT, AfDB, Arctic Council (observer), AsDB, Australia Group, BDEAC, BIS, BSEC (observer), CBSS (observer), CE, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, EIB, EMU, ESA, EU, FAO, FZ, G- 5, G- 7, G- 8, G-10, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, InOC, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITU, MIGA, MINURSO, MINUSTAH, MONUC, NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OIF, OPCW, OSCE, Paris Club, PCA, PIF (partner), SPC, UN, UN Security Council, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNITAR, UNMEE, UNMIL, UNMOVIC, UNOCI, UNOMIG, UNRWA, UNTSO, UPU, WADB (nonregional), WCL, WCO, WEU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTO, ZC
 
Administrative Divisions: 22 regions (regions, singular - region); Alsace, Aquitaine, Auvergne, Basse-Normandie, Bourgogne, Bretagne, Centre, Champagne-Ardenne, Corse, Franche-Comte, Haute-Normandie, Ile-de-France, Languedoc-Roussillon, Limousin, Lorraine, Midi-Pyrenees, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, Pays de la Loire, Picardie, Poitou-Charentes, Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur, Rhone-Alpes note: metropolitan France is divided into 22 regions (including the "territorial collectivity" of Corse or Corsica) and is subdivided into 96 departments; see separate entries for the overseas departments (French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Reunion) and the overseas territorial collectivities (Mayotte, Saint Pierre, Miquelon)
 
Dependent Areas: Bassas da India, Clipperton Island, Europa Island, French Polynesia, French Southern and Antarctic Lands, Glorioso Islands, Juan de Nova Island, New Caledonia, Tromelin Island, Wallis and Futuna note: the US does not recognize claims to Antarctica
 
Legal System: civil law system with indigenous concepts; review of administrative but not legislative acts
 
Suffrage: 18 years
 
Executive, Legislative and Judicial Branches: Executive Branch: chief of state: President Jacques CHIRAC (since 17 May 1995) head of government: Prime Minister Dominique DE VILLEPIN (since 31 May 2005) cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president on the suggestion of the prime minister elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term (changed from seven-year term in October 2000); election last held 21 April and 5 May 2002 (next to be held, first round April 2007, second round May 2007); prime minister nominated by the National Assembly majority and appointed by the president election results: Jacques CHIRAC reelected president; percent of vote, second ballot - Jacques CHIRAC (RPR) 81.96%, Jean-Marie LE PEN (FN) 18.04% Legislative Branch: bicameral Parliament or Parlement consists of the Senate or Senat (321 seats - 296 for metropolitan France, 13 for overseas departments and territories, and 12 for French nationals abroad; members are indirectly elected by an electoral college to serve nine-year terms; elected by thirds every three years); note - between 2004 and 2010, 25 new seats will be added to the Senate for a total of 346 seats - 326 for metropolitan France and overseas departments, 2 for New Caledonia, 2 for Mayotte, 1 for Saint-Pierre and Miquelon, 3 for overseas territories, and 12 for French nationals abroad; starting in 2008, members will be indirectly elected by an electoral college to serve six-year terms, with one-half the seats being renewed every three years; and the National Assembly or Assemblee Nationale (577 seats; members are elected by popular vote under a single-member majority system to serve five-year terms) elections: Senate - last held 26 September 2004 (next to be held September 2008); National Assembly - last held 8-16 June 2002 (next to be held not later than June 2007) election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - UMP 156, PS 97, UDF 33, PCF 23, RDSE 15, other 7; National Assembly - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - UMP 355, PS 140, UDF 29, PCF 21, Left Radical Party 7, Greens 3, other 22 Judicial Branch: Supreme Court of Appeals or Cour de Cassation (judges are appointed by the president from nominations of the High Council of the Judiciary); Constitutional Council or Conseil Constitutionnel (three members appointed by the president, three appointed by the president of the National Assembly, and three appointed by the president of the Senate); Council of State or Conseil d'Etat
 
Party Leaders: Citizen and Republican Movement or MRC [Jean Pierre CHEVENEMENT]; Democratic and European Social Rally or RDSE (mainly Radical Republican and Socialist Parties, and PRG) [Jacques PELLETIER]; French Communist Party or PCF [Marie-George BUFFET]; Greens [Yan WEHRLING, national secretary]; Left Radical Party or PRG (previously Radical Socialist Party or PRS and the Left Radical Movement or MRG) [Jean-Michel BAYLET]; Movement for France or MPF [Philippe DE VILLIERS]; National Front or FN [Jean-Marie LE PEN]; Rally for France or RPF [Charles PASQUA]; Socialist Party or PS [Francois HOLLANDE]; Union for French Democracy or UDF [Francois BAYROU]; Union for a Popular Movement or UMP [Nicolas SARKOZY]
 
International Disputes: Madagascar claims the French territories of Bassas da India, Europa Island, Glorioso Islands, and Juan de Nova Island; Comoros claims Mayotte; Mauritius claims Tromelin Island; territorial dispute between Suriname and the French overseas department of French Guiana; France asserts a territorial claim in Antarctica (Adelie Land); France and Vanuatu claim Matthew and Hunter Islands, east of New Caledonia
 
Illicit Drugs: transshipment point for and consumer of South American cocaine, Southwest Asian heroin, and European synthetics 
 
 
 FRENCH GEOGRAPHY
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Location of France: Western Europe, bordering the Bay of Biscay and English Channel, between Belgium and Spain, southeast of the UK; bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Italy and Spain
 
Continent: Europe Land Area Total: 547,030 sq km 
Region: Western Europe Land Area Land: 545,630 sq km
Capitol City: Paris Land Area Water: 1,400 sq km
      
Latitude: 046 00 N Border Boundary Land: 2,889 km
Longitude: 002 00 E Border Boundary Coastline: 3,427 km 
  
Arable Land: 33.46 % Pastures: 0.00 %
Crops: 2.03 % Woodlands and Forests: 0.00
  
Highest Elevation: 4,807 m Location: Mont Blanc
Lowest Elevation: -2 m Location: Rhone River delta
  
Largest City in France: Paris Paris Largest City Population: 9,608,000
  
Threatened Species: 110
 
Environmental Issues: some forest damage from acid rain; air pollution from industrial and vehicle emissions; water pollution from urban wastes, agricultural runoff
 
Environmental Agreements: party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Sulfur 85, Air Pollution-Sulfur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Seals, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
 
Irrigated Land: 26,000
 
Bordering Countries: Andorra 56.6 km, Belgium 620 km, Germany 451 km, Italy 488 km, Luxembourg 73 km, Monaco 4.4 km, Spain 623 km, Switzerland 573 km
 
Natural Resources: coal, iron ore, bauxite, zinc, uranium, antimony, arsenic, potash, feldspar, fluorospar, gypsum, timber, fish
 
Geographical Terrain: mostly flat plains or gently rolling hills in north and west; remainder is mountainous, especially Pyrenees in south, Alps in east
 
Comparative Area of France: slightly less than twice the size of Colorado
 
France's Geography: largest West European nation
 

 FRENCH CLIMATE
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General Climate: generally cool winters and mild summers, but mild winters and hot summers along the Mediterranean; occasional strong, cold, dry, north-to-northwesterly wind known as mistral
 
Natural Hazards: flooding; avalanches; midwinter windstorms; drought; forest fires in south near the Mediterranean
 
 
 FRENCH ECONOMY
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Economic Overview: France is in the midst of transition from a well-to-do modern economy that has featured extensive government ownership and intervention to one that relies more on market mechanisms. The government has partially or fully privatized many large companies, banks, and insurers. It retains controlling stakes in several leading firms, including Air France, France Telecom, Renault, and Thales, and is dominant in some sectors, particularly power, public transport, and defense industries. The telecommunications sector is gradually being opened to competition. France's leaders remain committed to a capitalism in which they maintain social equity by means of laws, tax policies, and social spending that reduce income disparity and the impact of free markets on public health and welfare. The government has lowered income taxes and introduced measures to boost employment and reform the pension system. In addition, it is focusing on the problems of the high cost of labor and labor market inflexibility resulting from the 35-hour workweek and restrictions on lay-offs. The tax burden remains one of the highest in Europe (nearly 50% of GDP in 2005). The lingering economic slowdown and inflexible budget items have pushed the budget deficit above the eurozone's 3%-of-GDP limit; unemployment stands at 10%.
 
 
GDP: $1,816,000,000 USD Currency: euro ;
GDP per Capita: $29,900 USD Currency Code: EUR
GDP Growth Rate: 1.40 %
  
Currency Exchange Rate History: euros per US dollar - 0.8041 (2005), 0.8054 (2004), 0.886 (2003), 1.0626 (2002), 1.1175 (2001)
  
  
GDP of Agriculture: 2.20 % GDP of Industry: 21.40 %
GDP of Services: 76.40 %  
   
Inflation Rate: 1.70 % Population in Poverty: 6.50 %
Unemployment Rate: 9.90 % Tourism: 73,042,000.00 visitors each year
   
Consumption by lowest 10%: 2.80 % Budget Revenue in USD: $1,060,000,000,000 USD
Consumption by upper 10%: 25.10 % Budget Expenditures in USD: $1,144,000,000,000 USD
   
Electricity Production: 536,900,000,000 kWh Electricity Exports: 72,200,000,000 kWh
Electricity Consumption: 433,300,000,000 kWh Electricity Imports: 6,200,000,000 kWh

Electricity Production by Source:
 
Fossil Fuel Electricity Production: 9.55% Nuclear Electricity Production: 76.74%
Hydro Electricity Production: 12.98% Other Electricity Production: 0.73%
   
Oil Production: 76,300 barrels per day Natural Gas Production: 1,566,000,000 cu m
Oil Consumption: 2,060,000 barrels per day Natural Gas Consumption: 49,740,000,000 cu m
Oil Exports: 409,600 barrels per day Natural Gas Exports: 1,725,000,000 cu m
Oil Imports: 2,281,000 barrels per day Natural Gas Imports: 40,260,000,000 cu m
Proven Oil Reserves: 144,300,000 barrels Proven Natural Gas Reserves: 14,330,000,000 cu m
   
External Debt: $2,826,000,000,000 USD Received in economic aid: $0 USD
  Donated in economic aid: $6,400,000,000 USD
   
Agricultural Products: wheat, cereals, sugar beets, potatoes, wine grapes; beef, dairy products; fish
 
Primary Industries: machinery, chemicals, automobiles, metallurgy, aircraft, electronics; textiles, food processing; tourism
 
Industrial Growth Rate: 1.30 %
  
  
Import Amount in USD: $473,300,000,000 USD - machinery and equipment, vehicles, crude oil, aircraft, plastics, chemicals
 
Import Partners: Germany 18.9%, Belgium 10.7%, Italy 8.2%, Spain 7%, Netherlands 6.5%, UK 5.9%, US 5.1%
 
Export Amount in USD: $443,400,000,000 USD - machinery and transportation equipment, aircraft, plastics, chemicals, pharmaceutical products, iron and steel, beverages
 
Export Partners: Germany 14.7%, Spain 9.6%, Italy 8.7%, UK 8.3%, US 7.2%, Belgium 7.1%
 
    
GINI Index: 32.70%
 
Labor Force Number of People: 27,720,000
 
Labor Force by Occupations: services 71.5%, industry 24.4%, agriculture 4.1%
 
  
 FRENCH COMMUNICATIONS
  France Facts |  French Republic Information | France Statistics  
 
Radio Broadcast Stations: 3,543 Number of People with Radios: 55,300,000
Television Broadcast Stations: 584 Number of People with Televisions: 34,800,000
Number of People with Mainline Telephones: 33,870,200 Number of People with Mobile Phones: 44,551,800
 
Internet Service Providers: 2,922,040 Internet Users: 26,214,174
 
Internet Country Code: .fr Newspapers: 218
Two Letter Country Code: FR Weights and Measures:
Phone Country Code: 33 Electricity Voltage: 230 Volts
  
Telephone Systems: general assessment: highly developed domestic: extensive cable and microwave radio relay; extensive introduction of fiber-optic cable; domestic satellite system international: country code - 33; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (with total of 5 antennas - 2 for Indian Ocean and 3 for Atlantic Ocean), NA Eutelsat, 1 Inmarsat (Atlantic Ocean region); HF radiotelephone communications with more than 20 countries
 
  
 FRENCH TRANSPORTATION
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Highways: 891,290 km Railways: 29,085 km
Gas And Oil Pipelines: 22,145 km Waterways: 8,500 km
Airports: 292 Heliports: 3
 
Motor Vehicles: 565 per 1,000 people CO2 Emissions: 412,860,000 Metric Tons of CO2 per year
  Per capita CO2 emissions: 5.80 Metric Tons of CO2 per year
  
Merchant Marines: total: 61 ships (1000 GRT or over) 875,777 GRT/1,318,605 DWT by type: cargo 1, chemical tanker 3, container 5, liquefied gas 6, passenger 3, passenger/cargo 32, petroleum tanker 10, roll on/roll off 1 foreign-owned: 13 (Denmark 1, Hong Kong 1, Italy 2, Monaco 1, Norway 1, NZ 1, Singapore 2, Sweden 2, Switzerland 2) registered in other countries: 154 (Antigua and Barbuda 1, Australia 3, Bahamas 37, Bermuda 1, Cameroon 1, French Polynesia 1, French Southern and Antarctic Lands 36, Gibraltar 1, Indonesia 1, Isle of Man 2, Italy 1, South Korea 12, Liberia 3, Luxembourg 14, Malta 6, Mexico 1, Morocco 1, Panama 15, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 8, UK 4, Wallis and Futuna 5)
 
Ports and Harbors: Bordeaux, Calais, Dunkerque, La Pallice, Le Havre, Marseille, Nantes, Paris, Rouen, Strasbourg
 
  
 FRENCH PEOPLE
  France Facts |  French Republic Information | France Statistics  
 
Population: 60,876,136 people type - nationality Birth Rate: 11.94 births per 1,000 people
Population Density: 109.00 people per sq km Death Rate: 9.14 deaths per 1,000 people
Population Growth: 0.35% per year Fertility Rate per Women: 1.84 babies born per woman
 
Population Male 0-14: 5,704,152 Population Female 0-14: 5,427,213
Population Male 15-64: 19,886,228 Population Female 15-64: 19,860,506
Population Male 65+: 4,103,883 Population Female 65+: 5,894,154
 
Population 0-14: 18.30% Literacy Rate: 99.00%
Population 15-64: 65.30% Literacy rate of Males: 99.00%
Population 65+: 16.40% Literacy rate of Females: 99.00%
 
Population that is Male: 47.50 % Population that is Female: 52.50%
Life expectancy at birth in years: 79.73 years Infant mortality rate - baby deaths per 1000 births: 4.21 Babies die per 1,000 births
Life expectancy at birth for Males: 76.10 years Life expectancy at birth for Females: 83.54 years
 
Rate of AIDS/HIV infection: 0.40% Number of people living with AIDS or HIV: 120,000
Number of people who died of AIDS: 0
   
Disease Risk:
 
Diseases:
 
Net Migration Rate per 1,000 people: 0.66
 
Nationality: FRENCH
 
Ethnic Groups: Celtic and Latin with Teutonic, Slavic, North African, Indochinese, Basque minorities 
 
  
Primary Language: French
 
Other Languages: French 100%, rapidly declining regional dialects and languages (Provencal, Breton, Alsatian, Corsican, Catalan, Basque, Flemish)
 
 
Primary Religion: Roman Catholic
 
Other Religions: Roman Catholic 83%-88%, Protestant 2%, Jewish 1%, Muslim 5%-10%, unaffiliated 4%
 
  
 FRENCH MILITARY
  France Facts |  French Republic Information | France Statistics  
  
Branches: Army (includes marines, Foreign Legion, light aviation), Navy (includes naval air), Air Force (includes air defense), National Gendarmerie
 
Manpower Fit to Serve: 17 years
 
Manpower Available: 27,181,048 People
 
Manpower Fit to Serve: 22,342,133 People
 
Amount of Manpower Available each Year: 661,923 People per year
 
Expenditures: $45,000,000,000 USD per year
 
Expenditures as a Percentage of GDP: 2.60
 
 
Note: Phrasebase uses a variety of sources when compiling the facts and information presented above. This information is continually updated throughout the year.
 FRENCH RESOURCES
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France Spa and Resort Directory
 
France Home Exchanges and Home Swaps
 
France Vacation Rentals And Holiday Villas
 

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