Will Madame Le Pen Make a Comeback?

The AAPA met with Rassemblement National head Marine Le Pen on Feb 15, 2019.

The last time we saw France’s right wing figurehead two years ago she was running for president and riding high in the polls.

Le Pen may have lost to Macron in May 2017, but she’s far from finished.

As the French president struggles to regain his footing after the yellow vest uprising, Le Pen’s popularity is steadily rising - this time in a more “populist” Europe.

Le Pen spoke to members for over an hour, addressing all the main topics from the rise in anti-Semitism to the yellow vest movement.

Le Pen seemed quite confidant that her party will be hugely successful in upcoming European parliament elections, against the background of a much changed Europe. She smiled as she talked of like-minded Polish, Hungarian and Italian voters storming the polls in May to take back the EU parliament for the people....

 


Professor Webber discusses Europe's immediate problems

 

"Europe must show it can provide solutions to problems facing people today," INSEAD Political Science Professor Douglas Webber told the AAPA on March 12 at Cafe Falstaff. "It's not enough today just to keep the peace," he added, referring to one of the key pillars of European unity following WWII.

 

Professor Webber spoke broadly about his recently-published book, European Disintegration? The Politics of Crisis in the European Union (Macmillan International).He pointed to four crises straining the EU: The Eurozone crisis, Russia's military intervention in Ukraine, Shengen and the refugee crisis, and Brexit. Webber believes each of the above crises has made European integration stronger, and that only a united France and Germany can lead and support further integration.

Speaking against the background of a looming Brexit, Webber forecast, "Both the UK and the EU will be less influential" when/if the UK leaves the Europaen Union.

 

- Shellie Karabell

 


President's message for 2019

Dear Members,

A short and somewhat belated note to wish you all a happy and prosperous new year.  The AAPA is in full swing for 2019, having already brought you Delphine Horvilleur, one of France's three female rabbis whose new book on anti-Semitism has alas proved very timely,  and Marine Le Pen, the far-right leader whose party is neck and neck in the polls with Emmanuel Macron's for the upcoming European elections.

The committee members are all working on various speakers we want to bring to you from the worlds of politics, business and the arts. One of the top targets is Emmanuel Macron, on whom I am working by trying to wear down his press team until they finally give in just to get rid of me, but we have a whole range of other makers and shakers on our hit list and will let you know as soon as we have them in the bag.

We would also ask you the members to suggest newsmakers you would like to meet. Send your suggestions to angloamericanparis@gmail.com and we will see what we can do. If, for example, you are in frequent contact with the press team of a minister or a champion of industry, then maybe ask if their boss would be interested in meeting us.

More generally, the association would this year like to get more input/feedback from members. Tell us what you think we should be doing or not doing, make suggestions for social events or outings, tell us about events that AAPA members might be interested in etc. You can do this via our Facebook group page (if you're not already a member of that, just go on to the FB group page and ask to join and you will be signed up) or by sending an email to angloamericanparis@gmail.com.

Among the social events we can look forward to this year are the Second Annual AAPA Bike Ride in May, and the Gala in June. This year it looks like the Gala will be held in the Indian Embassy, where the food is said to be top notch. And of course there are the Happy Hour drinks on the last Friday of each month, which have proved highly popular (and are not restricted to members, so bring along friends and colleagues if you so wish).

We look forward to seeing you at the many events that are in the pipeline for the coming months.

Rory Mulholland

President of the Anglo-American Press Association


French anti-Semitism 'first sign of a national crisis', Rabbi Delphine Horvilleur tells AAPA

Rabbi Delphine Horvilleur of the Mouvement Libéral Juif de France told AAPA members of her own path to the rabbinate (she was ordained in New York because no French institution will ordain women rabbis), and discussed her new book, Réflexions sur la question antisémite, which examines anti-Semitism from the Bible to the present day.

She emphasized that in France today the problem is coming from many different directions—from the far right, from the banlieues, from elements of the Gilets Jaunes—and said France needed to recognize it.

"Anti-Semitism isn't my problem, it's yours," she said. "Anti-Semitism is the first sign of a national crisis."

 

-Rachel Donadio

 


Interpol Chief Warns of New Terrorist Threat

Europe is facing a new “Isis 2.0” wave of terrorism from radicalised individuals returning from conflict zones in the Middle East to their home countries and jailed jihadists who will be completing relatively short prison terms in the next few years, Interpol’s Secretary General Jürgen Stock told the AAPA.

Speaking to some 30 members on Dec. 19, Mr. Stock remarked that prisons act as incubators for radical ideology. Despite claims that Isis has been defeated in combat, he said, it still poses a serious threat as an underground organisation.

He said Interpol is continuing to build its international database of biometric data to identify criminal and terrorist suspects, who are using fake or stolen ID documents for multiple identities, making it difficult for global law enforcement services to track them down.

This database is increasingly being used to crack down on cross-border criminal activity, notably cybercrime, people and drug trafficking and sex crimes.

Mr. Stock admitted that law enforcement agencies have difficulty penetrating the Dark Net, where 60% of the content involves illegal activity.

-David Pearson

 

Links to articles:

The Guardian:

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/dec/19/returning-jihadists-threaten-new-wave-of-terror-in-europe

Voice of America:

https://www.voanews.com/a/world-police-body-warns-of-second-wave-of-terrorists/4707827.html

 

 


Macron's advisors talk diplomacy with the AAPA

Three of  Emmanuel Macron's foreign policy advisors - Philippe Étienne, Aurélien Lechevallier, and Clément Beaune - met with members of the Anglo-American Press Association in an off-the-record event at the Elysée during which they spoke at length of the president's objectives for France on the European and world stage.

Photo: AAPA

Ex-NATO chief, former U.S. Homeland launch campaign against election meddling

Former NATO chief Anders Rasmussen and ex-U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff sounded the alarm over meddling in elections by Russia and other nations during a meeting with the AAPA on November 12.

“Russia has declared war against our democratic system,” Rasmussen, a former Danish prime minister said. “Putin wrongly sees our values as a threat.”

Rasmussen and Chertoff have teamed up with former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and former Mexican President Felipe Calderon to create an international commission that aims to raise awareness of cyber-interference in democracies and to explore technological solutions to the threats.

Emphasizing that technology is making it easier and easier to manipulate reality, they demonstrated a fake audio recording of U.S. President Donald Trump announcing a nuclear exchange with Russia, which they said is spending at least 10 times more in election meddling via social media than the European Union is spending to defend its democracies.

Rasmussen noted that there are 20 key elections on the calendar before 2020, including EU Parliamentary elections and two polls in Ukraine next year. “Put simply, artificial intelligence could make interference tactics available to anyone with just a bit of technological knowledge,” Rasumussen said.

The Danish statesman noted that Russia is not the only nation investing in election meddling and cited Iran and North Korea, and he said that while NATO had taken steps to counter cyber-meddling, it had not done enough.

Speaking the day after a ceremony in France commemorating the 100th anniversary of the end of World War One, Rasmussen predicted the Atlantic Alliance would survive the Trump presidency even if, according to him, there is a risk that he could win re-election in 2020. “In the worst case, he will be around until 2024,” Rasmussen said.

-Nelson Graves

 


JCDecaux bosses talk Vélib, bus shelters, bundling, and the digital revolution

The two leading executives of JCDecaux, the global out-of-home (OOH) advertising company, held an on-the-record briefing at their Paris Headquarters for the Anglo-American Press Association of Paris.

The executives are sons of the founder: Jean-Francois Decaux, aged 59, is the Co-CEO and Jean-Charles Decaux, aged 49, is the President of the Board, and the Co- General Director,

Some topics covered:

On the mission of the company:

  • “Our content provides a better way of living for citizens in cities by giving them services for free to them [like bus shelters, public bathrooms, and other ‘street furniture.]
  • “The notion of beautification is important to us. We work with famous architects. [Our street furniture] is a piece of design with the aesthetic that less is more…. We believe in cleanliness and never subcontract our maintenance.”

Bundling vs. unbundling services:

JCDecaux is in three broad categories of advertising out-of-home: Street furniture; Billboards; and Transport. They have built their company on bundling the services together as much as they can when bidding for business, as they have synergies among the services in a given city or neighborhood in terms of sharing their costs in maintenance, personnel and in ad selling.

However, the trend now is for cities to unbundle the contracts so they can get more competitive (cheaper) pricing so that the company has to make decisions to compete for this unbundled business – or not – and for them they generally do not.

Jean-Francois expressed skepticism about the effectiveness for cities of working with many vendors for the same physical fixture.

  • He said that the situation in London for them (where they only have the physical bus shelters) is not ideal since they did not get the maintenance contract.
  • He also talked about the city of Paris separating the bike rental market from the advertising market, so that now the city does not get the bike service for free, but has to pay for that service – hoping to make up the money in the ad revenue they receive from another company.

“Phigital”

JCDecaux out-of-door business is being deeply affected by the digital revolution in media, and Jean-Francois called their strategy Physical + Digital or Phygital strategy.

  • Street furniture is being equipped to receive live information for display, which not only broadcasts the advertisements, but gives citizens information about air pollution, traffic and the weather as it is happening.
  • The operating margin was 23% in 2013 but dropped to 19% in 2017 because “We are in the middle of a major transition to digital,” said Jean-Charles.
  • The company is launching programmatic ad selling in the out-of-home categories. The managers said that right now 0% of OOH is sold that way, although in digital advertising, much more than 50% of advertising is sold that way. They see programmatic as the future across all ad categories. They are rolling out their platform in the U.K. called Viooh (pronounced View.) Jean-Francois says this “new IT platform means we will be going in a direction which we have never gone before.”

Global, but specialized, and multi-local

JCDecaux “is the largest firm in the world for out-of-home advertising. And we are only about 13-14% of the global market. So there is a lot of room for us to grow and to consolidate. There are no frontiers,” said Jean-Charles.

The brothers talked about their decision to stay focused as a pure player on OOH, with the goal to gain market share geography by geography in their space. At this time, their vision crashed head-to-head of that of CBS/Clear Channel which was to own media across all media – OOH, cable, TV, Radio other areas. Jean-Francois pointed out that Clear Channel is now in chapter 11.

-by Ava Seave

Adjunct Associate Professor, Columbia Business SchoolAdjunct Assistant Professor, Columbia Journalism School.

Ava, who closely follows JCDecaux's doings,  came along as a guest to the AAPA meeting with the Decaux brothers.

 

 


Professor Greenwald talks to AAPA members about big economic issues

On October 15, the AAPA met Columbia University Professor Bruce Greenwald, a leading authority on global economics and "value investing" -- the art, or science, of picking stocks, as Warren Buffett amazingly seems to do, that have been forgotten or sidelined but are potential winners.

In our 90-minute breakfast meeting at Falstaff Café, Prof. Greenwald touched on a wide range of big economic issues, including globalisation, export-driven economic models and varying rates of productivity, but also spoke of the urgent need to address demography and how it deeply affects climate change.   If these problems go unaddressed, mass-migration flows like those we saw in Europe in 2015 are bound to re-occur, he maintained.  To alleviate over-population, he put forward the idea that IMF could distribute pension payments to retirees in, say Africa, to ease the requirement for subsequent generations to provide for the elderly.

He also shed light on an angle of female empowerment: data shows that women are far more adaptable than men to shifting social circumstances and to the changing economic model where growth in jobs will be in services (versus manufacturing).  On income distribution Greenwald told members leaders need to address income inequality and labor force training from a policy standpoint rather than try to make business do it through legislation & penalties, which depress business efficiency and generally don't work.   His thoughts seemed to be that only if governments provide this labor support in the form of earned income credit can service sector workers make a decent wage.

On Brexit, Prof. Greenwald said Britain's exit from the EU doesn’t necessarily need to be the death knell of the UK economy.  If Britain keeps its doors open to talented and well-trained migrants, it could ride out the problems of Brexit, he said.  He suggested Britain look at the Canadian Model for migrants as part of the solution.

In a final note, Prof. Greenwald revealed the first book he recommends to his Columbia Business School students.  It's 'Pride and Prejudice' -- a novel about self-deception, and self-deception, he said, is the single biggest source of making mistakes.

Also present at the talk was Prof. Greenwald's wife, Ava Seave, who has co-authored one book with him, the analytic work The Curse of the Mogul: What’s Wrong with the World’s Leading Media Companies.  Asked if we can expect an update edition of this work, Seave noted: We have to see how this wave of consolidations works out.  Stay tuned.

-Catherine Field

-Pictures by Thomas Haley

 


Farewell to Sara Llana

Members of the AAPA gathered recently for a picnic in Paris’ Buttes Chaumont Park to say farewell to Sara Llana who’s been a member for several years. Sara served as secretary general and established the club’s monthly Friday night happy hour tradition. She moves to Canada with her family where she will be the Christian Science Monitor’s Toronto correspondent.
Sara was a vivacious, active and integral member of the AAPA.
She will be sorely missed!