The French made a lot of noise on bonuses, including threats to walk-out of the Summit if the issue was not dealt with by the G20, and in this at least, they have gotten their way.
French Finance Minister, Christine Lagarde stated, "I hope we will save [President Sarkozy] the trouble of having to walk out."
Bonuses are an easy give-away in terms of enhancing regulation from a political standpoint but
as we covered a week ago, Societe Generale has already lost a high-performing team over bonus limitations due to "voluntary cooperation" with the French government. Other high-fliers are going to be looking at their options too, and it is to be anticipated that bonus restrictions are going to create a spate of new companies established by disenchanted bankers seeking to break through artificially imposed, glass ceilings on their earnings capacity.
What has this cost the French?
Arguably it has cost them German support on AIFM but then again, the Germans are tied up with establishing a new coalition government after Chancellor Merkels election win over the weekend.
Berlin announced it is concerned over the AIFM Draft Directive proposals and the pan-EU regulatory framework - while Frankfurt cannot yet match London, the Germans have seen the French writing on the wall and cracks have appeared in the front presented by the main proponents of AIFM. After the freedom of the English educational system, frankly my kids did not flourish and it wasn't just because they didn't speak the language - after a year, they were both managing very well. They felt suffocated by the rigidity of the structure and the inability of the system to allow individuality.
At 14, or at the age when a child finishes College, a choice has to be made between continuing into formal education at a Lycee Generale and going onto the Baccalaureate, or going into an apprenticeship or going onto Lycee Professionale and learning a trade.
This is where the French system excels. The number of courses available is truly mindboggling and ensures that a child who is not academic can do a training which will gain them useful employment.
My eldest, who is now nearly 18, went to Lycee Professionale and obtained a Certificat d'Aptitude Professionale (CAP) in electricity and has now gone onto Brevet d'Etude Professionale (BEP) in electricity. He goes on work experience regularly and is gaining in confidence every day.
My youngest, who is now 16, made no head-way in the system and started at International School at Bordeaux a year ago. He is studying International GCSE and took French after one year in which he gained an A*. He is in a class of 6 and is very happy. He boards with a french family who look after him very well and he comes home at weekends. Occasionally he gets on the wrong train and rings me up to say he is going to be a while.....
I have not regretted bringing them to France. Children here are hardworking and respectful. They have no wish to join the 10% unemployed. They do not hang around the streets getting drunk at weekends (although this does happen during fete weeks!!). I cant remember the last time I saw a teenager pushing a pram.