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Can it get any worse? Well maybe.  Germany are due some elections and then there’s France and of course Italy have the 3 times a year concept.  It must be time for Berlusconi to rear his head again, they didn’t lock him up did they?  There seem to be quite a few men with short dark hair of a certain age hoping to get the Presidency job of the Fifth Republic.  Manny Valls and Benny Hamon for the socialists and Emanny Macron, for his own party, En Marche. The picture below makes me confuse him with Hamon -


The front runners in the polls currently have the ones that are easier to identify Frank Fillon ahead of Marine who are trailed by Macron in third, Polls? Who knows?  Looking different seems to have helped in other recent elections combined with tearing up the traditional manual of how to do things.

The independent wrote Macron’s policies are largely directed to removing barriers. He calls for a “democratic revolution” and promises to “unblock France”. 


Thus Macron would scrap France’s 35-hour working week for younger workers while at the same time making it easier for businesses to lay workers off. But he would balance that reform with establishing broader unemployment benefits. He believes that older workers should be able work for fewer hours. He also wants to increase state spending on schools in areas where there are large numbers of migrants. In sum, he is determined to change France’s post-war model, which, as he told the centre-left weekly magazine L’Obs, “has created deep inequalities by favouring mostly insiders, those with a permanent job contract and stable employment ... everyone else has been left aside”.


I haven’t heard but I presume President Trump has taken on an elite Republican Guard, my presumption is based on the fact that he has totally annoyed all of the regular US secret services. So he will need protection from his own security.  Can you imagine an order being given to his close protection team of “don’t try to hard”?

Below I think are the first interviews for his private guard, oh and a fine role model

Trump Miss USA 320x190imgres

Happy Chinese New year

In Cantonese: Kunghei fatchoy /gong-hey faa-chwhy/

If you are reading this and you are a UK resident you may want to look at this 

Petition: Prevent Donald Trump from making a State Visit to the United Kingdom.

it seems to be going up about 150 names a second at the moment.






 Thousands of regular readers make the Flyer the place to be seen




Lost in France


Lost in France is not written by Steve and he is not responsible for my views and comments.

Advice for reducing electricity consumption from 1942.


  1. Lay a piece of chimney pipe about 50 cms in diameter above an electric heater.  It will stop the heat from rising immediately to the ceiling.
  2. Before heating a room open the windows for two minutes.  The cold air will reheat quicker than the temperate air. 
  3. Don’t forget to clean your light bulbs from time to time.  You will gain more light. 
  4. You would be advised to change your light bulb before they die as an old light bulb consumes more energy than a new one.
  5. When you read, sew or write choose a table lamp or even use a less powerful light bulb as the intensity of the light will be stronger than that coming from a ceiling light.  The reflection from your lights will be enough to illuminate part of the room where you are working but not enough concentrate the light in a particular place.  A judicious choice of light will allow you to use a less powerful bulb.
  6. Avoid indirect lighting if you want to economise on your supply, choose preferably hanging lights with base at the top and filament at the bottom.




 angloeuropean  nickcamamail

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 Carolyn Knight new ad


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New French legislation affecting ‘Fonds en euros’ accounts in assurances vie policies.


You may recall I highlighted this concerning development in my November article (Aude Flyer 23rd November). If you missed it, and because it is particularly concerning, I have reproduced that article again, with an update….


There has been concern for some time, about how plummeting bond yields may affect the extremely popular ‘fonds en euros’ (by far the most popular choice for French investors in assurances vie policies). The question is how life insurers are going to be able to continue paying an acceptable annual return to their policyholders, while sovereign bonds offer increasingly low (or even negative) returns?


To explain, these ‘fonds en euros’ have to guarantee capital whilst paying a bonus every year. The only way that a fund manager can be sure of meeting this obligation is to put the vast majority of investors’ money into French government bonds. By doing so, they fund government debt to the tune of trillions of euros.


As recently as 2007, they were paying an attractive 5% per annum net. This has now fallen to about 2.5% and are set to fall further, almost certainly to under 2% for 2016. With bond rates at historically low levels, they should now only be paying about 1%, but companies have been dipping into their reserves as they fear that such a low rate would lead to a mass exodus from these policies. This has inevitably caused concerns about the financial stability of the insurance companies.


There have been several recent developments:


1) The state has imposed new reporting requirements on life insurers from 1 January 2016 under which they are obliged to provide details of policies with a value of more than €7,500. This is to assist the fight against money laundering but it could also be used to test the solvency of insurance companies.


2) For the past few years, the French Ministry of Finance and the Governor of the Bank of France have been consistently urging life insurers to lower returns on their ‘fonds en euros’. This has not been sufficiently acted upon and the government has now passed an amendment to Article 21a of the law "Sapin 2".


Voted in secret on June 23 (with the French population concentrating on their imminent summer holidays and the euphoria of the European Cup!), the new legislation passed virtually unnoticed by the mainstream media.


There were very few immediate reactions, even though some members of parliament were taken aback by this amendment when it was presented to them to vote on by the MP proposing the bill.


The government, as has often happened in the past, conveniently happened to be going on their own summer holiday immediately afterwards. This avoided their having to answer any awkward questions, had this matter happened to come to the attention of the media!


Whether this legislation ever needs to be acted upon depends on government bond and bank interest rates. However, the future certainly looks bleak for investors in ‘fonds en euros’ (probably 90% of all French assurance vie policyholders).


What does this new law actually say and how will it affect you?


The final decision as to whether this law comes into force now lies with France’s ‘Constitutional Council’. A decision is expected by mid-December.


I can now confirm that these measures have now passed into law as at 3rd January 2017.


For clarification, the ‘Financial Stability Board’ (‘HCSF’) now has the power to 'suspend, delay or limit temporarily, for all or part of the portfolio, withdrawals or the option to switch funds’.


The implications of this are clear: overnight, at the request of Governor of the Bank of France, the HCSF may prohibit you carrying out all normal policy operations, including withdrawals and fund ‘switches’.


In short, some or all of your assets could be frozen for “a period of 3 months, renewable" (i.e. for whatever time is required for the crisis threatening an insurance company to pass). It is not inconceivable that your investment could be reduced in value in order to avoid an insurance company becoming insolvent. Article L.612-33 of the Monetary and Financial Code provides the means for this reduction to be imposed. It is not known how this would affect the official guarantee of €70,000 for every assurance vie policy.


People are becoming increasingly disturbed, and rightly so, that this draconian law will now allow the authorities, in total disregard of contract law, to deprive you of access to your money!


However, on closer inspection, the powers given by this new legislation were already granted to the ACPR (Prudential Control Authority and Resolution) by Article L. 612-33 of the Monetary and Financial Code, as follows:


“If the solvency or liquidity of a person or institution subject to supervision by the Authority or when the interests of its customers, policyholders, members or beneficiaries, are compromised, the Prudential Control Authority shall take the necessary precautionary measures [...] it can, as such: [...] 7. instruct a person or institution [...] to suspend or limit payment of cash values, the option of switching investments, or the granting of policy loans."

One should remember that similar provisions exist in the banking sector. The directive on the recovery and resolution of banking crises (BRRD) authorizes freezing of clients’ assets and potential loss of money in bank accounts, in case of any difficulty that might lead to insolvability.


The new version of the text is intended to prevent and reverse the effects of a contagion that could affect assurance vie investors in the event of a severe financial crisis, It is designed "to preserve the stability of the financial system or prevent risks seriously threatening insurance companies or a significant number of them."


Clearly, these measures are intended to protect insurers, especially if investor panic sets in and there were mass surrenders of assurance vie contracts, an event which insurers would be hard pressed to cope with. They are holding bonds with maturity dates of ten or even thirty years from now. To try and offload €1.5 trillion of bonds would just not be possible.


How to react?


One suspects that this situation is worrying insurers because they are struggling to meet the expectations of their investors. This is eating into their reserves and, regardless of the prospect of an eventual increase in bond yields, some of them could find themselves in a precarious situation in the months and years to come.


There is a clear expectation that the returns from these investments will fall this year (2017) making them less attractive to investors, and this could trigger withdrawals over the coming months and years. The threat is therefore not just a short term one.

Of course, it would be reassuring to think that worried investors would not panic and withdraw their money from these policies, knowing that this would only exacerbate the situation.


Policyholders are all too well aware that if they rush en masse to cash in their contracts, they could actually cause the assets in these policies to be frozen. But is that going to stop them trying to be ‘first in the queue’ and avoid the suspension of withdrawals?


The ideal scenario would be for investors to stay calm and avoid possible future difficulties by gradually switching out of ‘fonds en euros’ to other assets (unit linked multi-asset funds, property funds, etc). We will see if this is what happens.

In spite of all this, assurance vie remains an attractive investment, especially in view of its advantageous tax benefits. Investors therefore have to weigh up the advantages compared to what is obviously an increased element of risk. In particular, those who took out policies prior to reaching their 70th birthday risk losing valuable Inheritance Tax advantages.


Fortunately, we are able to offer policies domiciled outside of France (in Dublin, for example) which are immune from this French legislation. These also offer the possibility of initially investing in sterling, thus avoiding the need to convert pounds to euro at the current low exchange rate. If you would like to find out more about our French compliant, yet non-domiciled assurances vie, or hold ‘fonds en euros’ funds within an existing assurance vie contract and would like specific advice, then please contact me either via our office in Limoux or by ringing me direct on the number below. You can also contact me by email at or call our office in Limoux to make an appointment.



Alternatively, I conduct a drop-in clinic most Fridays (holidays excepting), when you can pop in to speak to me. Our office telephone number is 04 68 31 14 10.

I look forward to seeing you soon.



Derek Winsland
Chartered Financial Planner
Mobile: 0771 71 95 52





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  On Friday 13th there is an online campaign to bombard the Prime Minister's email address with the views of Brits living in Europe who object to her using us as pawns in her negotiations with other EU countries. 


Some vide greniers and foires!
Please check before setting off
They also have a sister site where you can giveaway stuff or find stuff others are giving
Its all recycling - you know it makes sense!
If there are two in the same town on the same day, it could be a duplicate on the site or a second event
Black = Aude - Brown = Ariege

Samedi 4 Février

Coursan  Vide grenier Route de Cuxac

Mirepoix  Vide dressing

Saverdun  Vide grenier marché aux puces et divers

Dimanche 5 Février

Carcassonne  Vide grenier brocante

Coursan  Vide grenier Route de Cuxac

Limoux  Brocante

Narbonne  Vide grenier

Mazères  Vide grenier

Mirepoix  Bourse dons, trocs, échanges

Pamiers  Vide grenier brocante

Varilhes  Vide grenier sur D624

Samedi 11 Février

Coursan  Vide grenier Route de Cuxac

Dimanche 12 Février

Carcassonne  Vide grenier brocante

Coursan  Vide grenier Route de Cuxac

Marcorignan  Vide maison, armoire, intérieur salle

Pamiers  Vide grenier brocante

Saint-Girons  Vide grenier

Varilhes  Vide grenier sur D624

Samedi 18 Février

Coursan  Vide grenier Route de Cuxac

Dimanche 19 Février

Carcassonne  Vide grenier brocante

Coursan  Vide grenier Route de Cuxac

Narbonne  Vide grenier

Pamiers  Vide grenier brocante

Saint-Girons  Vide grenier

Saverdun  Vide grenier marché aux puces et divers

Varilhes  Vide grenier sur D624



















What's On 




TEENAGE FANCLUB 20 Feb Le Letronum Toulouse


SUICIDAL TENDENCIES 11 April Bikini Toulouse

PLACEBO  24 April Zenith Toulouse

SIMPLE MINDS 29 April Halle Aux Grains Toulouse

XAVIER RUDD 18 June Bikini Toulouse


BEJART BALLET 9 July Carcassonne Festival

PIXIES 27 July Carcassonne Festival





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Give away items


1 image and 25 words, plus contact details

All items for sale inc Motor vehicles, boats, caravans & trailers

25 €

1 image and 25 words, plus contact details in 3 editions


Property for sale - land, houses, businesses

50 €

up to 8 images and 500 words, plus contact details - your own property web page linked to the "Property Page" section of the Flyer for 13 editions

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Standard Display Advert - Corporate


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Large Display Advert - Small Companies and Sole Traders (at my discretion)


Finished artwork to be 756 pixels by 200 pixels landscape or 378 pixels by 400 pixels portrait

Standard Display Advert - Small Companies and Sole Traders (at my discretion)

25 €

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What's on feature advert

35 €

Finished artwork to be 378 pixels by 515 pixels portrait

information about advertising rates and specifications.
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