28 April 2013

A New New Franc!

Posts here in the past have raised the possibility of France leaving the Eurozone or the euro’s collapse (eg in 2011 and most recently in 2012) but raising the subject has always seemed more “raving” than “droning”. So I was surprised to see the essay article below in the current issue of Le Figaro Magazine:

Speech by the President of the Republic
It was written by Philippe Villin, énarque, banker and journalist and, according to Wikipedia, a member of Le Siècle, so a man firmly embodied in the French elite. In his article Villin imagines the speech which François Hollande would give at 11pm on 7 July 2013 announcing this revolution:
Françaises, Français, chers concitoyens, l’euro est mort. A minuit, le nouveau nouveau franc, le NNF, sera notre nouvelle monnaie. …
And he goes on to explain the background to his decision to introduce the NNF* at parity with the euro. It is primarily due to the double problem of French economic competitiveness in the euro – with Germany internally and in US$ terms externally. A ‘euro of the south’ was ruled out as too weak for France and Italy and too strong for the others. France’s euro debts would be repaid in NNF.  Hollande ends with a passage reminiscent of Harold Wilson’s 1967 sterling devaluation “pound in your pocket” speech:
Demain matin, la vie sera normale: transports, téléphone, télévisions fonctionneront, les magasins seront ouverts … les vaches auront donne du lait, le soleil brillera selon Metéo France …**
There is a satirical element to the whole piece, which, incidentally, describes Villin as a staunch supporter of returning to the franc, for example its annotation as “PCC François Hollande” (pour copie conforme being the French equivalent of CC, once known in English as 'carbon copy').

I hope Villin's article gets translated and appears in the UK media.  The NNF may not impossible, but its announcement on 7 July 2013 seems highly unlikely.

* The last new franc (nouveau franc NF) was introduced in January 1960 by revaluation from 100 old francs.

** Tomorrow morning, life will be normal***: transport, telephones, television will work, the shops will open ... the cows will give milk, the sun will shine according to France Metéo …

*** In the presidential election in 2012, Hollande was sold as ‘Monsieur Normale’, in contrast with his predecessor.

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