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Category Archives: Society & Culture

France 2017: Happy New Year? You must be joking!

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Come January, social pressure runs higher than ever in France. If you do not wish a smashing ‘Bonne année!’ to absolutely anybody you may come across during the entire month, you’re a social outcast. The Elysée is of course not exempt from this pressure: one of the most bizarre rituals of the French Republican Monarchy […]

France 2017: Jerrycans for Christmas!

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  In case you have friends or family in France and you don’t know what to offer them for Christmas, my suggestion is: buy them a set of jerrycans. They may come handy in 2017. Not at once, but once the summer is over, they might be more useful than ever. This advice is based […]

A Union of Shared Values – The Jean Monnet Conference 2015

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A report by Pam Barnes. What is the role of education and civil society in the promotion and transmission of ‘A Union of Shared Values’? This was the topic of the Jean Monnet Conference 2015, which took place in Brussels on 9/10 November. Only a few days later the horrific events in Paris on 13 November […]

How to kill a premium brand

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Remember when they wanted to change the recipe of Coca Cola? Very bad idea. If there’s one golden rule in marketing, it’s not to mess around with well-established household brands. You may surprise the customer with brand extensions – diet coke, cherry coke, coke zero – but you never ever alienate him from the core […]

Is the peace narrative really obsolete?

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30 years ago, the photo of François Mitterrand and Helmut Kohl holding hands in Verdun, the emblematic battlefield of World War One, went around the world. It is true that their gesture – which Kohl always insisted was a very spontaneous one – was quite unusual. Still, it was appropriate. After all, reconciliation between France […]

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