Soft power shifts to France

French Property News - - News -

France is now the world’s most in­flu­en­tial and re­spected su­per­power, hav­ing over­taken the US and UK in the an­nual ‘soft power’ rank­ings.

The list as­sesses coun­tries on their global stand­ing and im­pact aside from mil­i­tary might or eco­nomic sta­tus.

Fac­tors such as for­eign pol­icy, global en­gage­ment, ed­u­ca­tion, en­ter­prise, life­style and cul­ture are con­sid­ered in the an­nual rank­ings, called the Soft Power 30.

Last year, the United States topped the list and Bri­tain was cream of the crop the year be­fore. How­ever, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s ‘Amer­ica First’ pol­icy and with­drawal from the Paris cli­mate change agree­ment ap­pear to have played poorly abroad while the Brexit vote has dented Bri­tain’s rep­u­ta­tion in other EU coun­tries, says the re­port. France has rock­eted up the rank­ings from fifth place, a move at­trib­uted in part to its pro-europe, probusi­ness new leader Em­manuel Macron as well as its un­ri­valled diplo­matic ties – it’s a mem­ber of more mul­ti­lat­eral or­gan­i­sa­tions than any other coun­try.

French cinema and cui­sine – in­clud­ing the coun­try’s many Miche­lin-starred restau­rants – were also cited among the rea­sons it en­joys un­par­al­leled pow­ers of in­flu­ence, per­sua­sion and good­will.

“This re­sult may come as a shock given the French land­scape just a year ago,” says the PR firm Port­land Com­mu­ni­ca­tions which com­piles the an­nual in­dex in con­junc­tion with the Univer­sity of South­ern Cal­i­for­nia school of public di­plo­macy. “Pres­i­dent Hol­lande’s pop­u­lar­ity rat­ing was at a record low, the na­tion was reel­ing from the dev­as­tat­ing ef­fects of a se­ries of ter­ror at­tacks, and the wave of far­right pop­ulism was gain­ing ground. France’s soft power has no doubt seen a boost with the de­feat of the Front Na­tional and elec­tion of its youngest ever pres­i­dent, Em­manuel Macron. Elected on a pro-europe plat­form of re­form, the pres­i­dent is rid­ing a wave of both do­mes­tic and in­ter­na­tional pop­u­lar­ity.”

Trevor Leggett, founder of Leggett Im­mo­bilier, said the re­sults con­firmed re­search by his agency which found that the qual­ity of life was the top fac­tor that drew Bri­tish buy­ers to France.

“Po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic fac­tors trail in be­hind the world-class wines and sandy beaches,” he said.

Rob Lon­g­ley, di­rec­tor of Beaux Villages Im­mo­bilier, agreed. “We hope this in­de­pen­dent af­fir­ma­tion will pro­vide the fi­nal ex­tra nudge to any­one con­sid­er­ing the move into prop­erty own­er­ship in France,” he said. “There is space and a friendly wel­come for you yet. Vive la France!”

The term ‘soft power’ was coined by the Har­vard aca­demic Joseph Nye to de­scribe a na­tion’s abil­ity to shape the pref­er­ences of oth­ers through ap­peal and at­trac­tion rather than through force and money.

Now in its third year, the Soft Power 30 is based on statis­tics and opin­ion polls car­ried out in 25 coun­tries.

The UK main­tained its sec­ond place in the rank­ings for the sec­ond year in a row. Mean­while, the US has slipped to third place and Ger­many down one place to fourth while Canada com­pletes the top five.

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