BNP Paribas and La Résistance: Why Compliance is not Capitulation and Cooperation Could Save an Economy

We will start by saying we are proud Francophiles. We love many things about French culture; from the just-right draw of their espresso (sorry, Italy, that ristretto is just too short and bitter) to the sacrosanct treatment of time for leisure and family. Indeed, most attempts by the country to preserve la vie Française are idealistic efforts to protect what we see as a beautiful way of life (perhaps excluding some of the Académie Française’s more laughable efforts to provide French alternatives to borrowed English words). And some of the country’s biggest companies represent not only the economic engines of France but also embody national pride in global market power.However, as news breaks on the unprecedented sanctions penalty currently under discussion for BNP Paribas, there is a risk that the reaction from the country and the company may set a tone that will be counterproductive for French business. French politicians have scrambled to defend the bank, threatening to scrap TTIP negotiations with the United States. French headlines and many conversations we ad in Paris last week ring with indignation. BNP Paribas is the national team of the French economy. Justifiable national pride in the company has clearly been injured by U.S. enforcement actions.

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