• France's news in English
France won't get GDP boost from sex and drugs
France said 'non' to an EU order to include drug sales and prostitution in its GDP calculations. Photo: Jacques Demarthon/AFP

France won't get GDP boost from sex and drugs

Joshua Melvin · 18 Jun 2014, 18:55

Published: 18 Jun 2014 18:55 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Statisticians at France's nation data agency say because drug users and certain types of prostitutes are not operating of their own consent France doesn’t have to comply with new EU rules on calculating the country’s GDP.

In an effort to standardize economic figures from across the union’s 28 member states, the European data agency Eurostat ordered countries to start including revenues from the sex and drug trades in their figures.

While Belgium and Spain have already agreed, Britain says adding the revenue from drugs and prostitution could add 1 percent to its GDP or €10.9million.

Eurostat earlier estimated the average increase due to the new calculation would be 2.4 percent, with the highest rises for Finland and Sweden at 4-5 percent followed by Austria, Britain and the Netherlands at 3-4 percent.

INSEE says including revenues from the drugs trade alone would add about 0.1 percent to France's GDP or around €2 billion.

But France says it will not follow the lead of its neighbours because it argues Eurostat's rules say transactions must be taken into account only when there is mutual consent.

“In regards to drug trafficking, we have long argued that because people are addicted they are not consenting freely to the exchange,” Eric Dubois, director of economic studies at France’s national statistics agency INSEE, told French daily Le Monde.

Dubois went on to note the type of prostitution that takes place under the cover of front businesses is already taken into account in France’s GDP. However, the statisticians again took a stand against including street sex trade in the figures.

“Street prostitution is more so part of a mafia network and includes the trafficking of people without papers, etc.,” Dubois said. “Accordingly, the mutual consent criteria probably couldn’t be confirmed.”

In a sort of compromise, France has agreed to include illegal drugs and prostitution in a calculation of national income, which it will share with the EU. The French numbers could be important as the country represents Europe’s second largest economy.

The French have had a troubled relationship with the drug and sex trade in recent years. Though France is among the biggest consumers of cannabis in Europe, the drug remains totally outlawed here, though a green party lawmaker is trying to legalize it.

Story continues below…

French lawmakers also backed a bill last year to penalize the clients of prostitutes, which the government said is an effort to protect human traffic victims. Though sex workers say the bill, if it becomes law, would force them further into the shadows.

Joshua Melvin (joshua.melvin@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
France to clear 'Jungle' migrant camp Monday
Migrants will be bussed from the camp to some 300 temporary accommodation centres around France. Photo: Denis Charlet/ AFP

The "Jungle" migrant camp on France's northern coast will be cleared of its residents on Monday before being demolished, authorities said Friday.

How life for expats in France has changed over the years
A market in Eymet, southwestern France. Photo: AFP

Foreigners in France explain how life has changed over the years.

London calling for Calais youths, but only a chosen few
Photo: AFP

Dozens of Calais minors are still hanging their hopes on help from the UK, but not all will be so lucky.

17 different ways to talk about sex in French
Photo: Helga Weber/Flickr

Fancy a quick run with the one-legged man?

Yikes! This is what a rat-infested French jail looks like
Photo: YouTube/France Bleu TV.

This video is not for sufferers of ratophobia (or musophobia as the condition is officially called).

France to allow Baby Jesus in Town Halls this Christmas
Photo: AFP

Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus are safe to go on display again this year, it seems.

National Front posts locations of migrants in French town
The National Front courts controversy. Photo: AFP

"Local tax payers have a right to know," says local far-right party chief.

Paris thieves use tear gas to steal €500,000 of watches
Photo: AFP

The thieves pretended to be couriers then threatened staff with tear gas to get the watches.

Bataclan survivor recounts attack in chilling drawings
Photo: BFMTV screengrab

One survivor has recounted the horrific night through illustrations.

Anger among French police grows as Hollande vows talks
French police demonstrate on the Champs Elysées. Photo: AFP

A fourth night of protests shows government efforts to ease anger among French police have been fruitless.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
The ups and downs of being both French and English
How Brexit vote has changed life for expats in France
Twelve French insults we'd love to have in English
What's on in France: Ten of the best events in October
jobs available