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DRUGS

The staggering numbers that reveal France’s drug trafficking trade

A new report reveals just how much the illegal drug trade contributes to the French economy each year. Here's what we learnt in figures.

The staggering numbers that reveal France's drug trafficking trade
Photo: AFP
The report was carried out by France's national statistics office Insee which announced at the end of January — after several years of debate — that it would start including the money spent on illicit drugs when calculating the country's gross domestic product.
 
Eurostat in 2013 asked EU members to factor in drug trafficking and prostitution to harmonise GDP measures across the bloc, where some countries such as the Netherlands had already been including the proceeds of prostitution and drugs in their national accounts.
 
Here's what we learned from the new report. 
 
(At least) €2.7 billion
 
This is the amount generated by drug trafficking in France every year. 
 
However the agency was keen to stress that the figure could have been underestimated.
 
“This figure is an evaluation,” Ronan Mahieux, head of the national accounts department at INSEE told the French press.
 
“There is a risk of underestimation, because it is possible that households do not trust the interviewers who contact them,” he added. 
 
€3.1 billion
 
This is how much France believes the French spend on illegal substances in a year.
 
Holiday couple find 20kg of cocaine in suitcase
File photo: Cocaine. AFP
 
€400 million 
 
The amount spent on imported drugs. 
 
Insee subtracted this figure from the estimated total the French spend on drugs (€3.1 billion) to calculate the value of the domestic drugs trade (€2.7 billion).

 
€1 billion
 
The amount generated from trafficking cannabis.
 
 
France to slash fines for pot smokers amid rise in cannabis use
 
€800 million
 
That's the amount of money generated by the trafficking of cocaine which is second only to the amount made by cannabis. 
 
0.1 percent 
 
The percentage of France's GDP generated by drug trafficking.
 
In January, The Local reported that France had said that it would start including the money spent on illicit drugs when calculating its gross domestic product, providing a statistical shot in the arm for the country's economy.
 
Eurostat argued that the drug trade as well as prostitution reflected commercial transactions carried out freely, and should be integrated into a country's national accounts.
 
France however drew the line at estimating the amounts generated by prostitution. 
 
Prostitution in the street is notoriously the work of people who are generally in an irregular situation, often underage and under the power of clandestine networks who have brought them to France,” said Insee.
 
“These situations are more like sexual slavery than the voluntary exercise of a professional activity,” the agency added. 

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DRUGS

French minister calls for Eurovision winner to be disqualified if singer fails drug test

France's Europe minister on Monday called for "total transparency" over speculation that one of Italy's victorious Eurovision contestants used cocaine during the song contest, saying it should be grounds for disqualification if confirmed.

French minister calls for Eurovision winner to be disqualified if singer fails drug test
France's entry, Barbara Pravi, said she didn't care whether Måneskin had used drugs or not. Photo: Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP

Damiano David, the outlandish vocalist for Italian rockers Måneskin, has agreed to take a drug test after video footage appeared to show him snorting something from a table backstage during Saturday’s contest.

“I think there needs to be no doubt here, and total transparency,” Europe Minister Clement Beaune, who attended the show in Rotterdam, told RMC radio. “If there is a problem, there are penalties… Provisions are made for sanctioning measures, including potential disqualification in case of problems.” 

French hopes had been riding high on singer Barbara Pravi, who was a bookmakers’ favourite to end France’s 44-year Eurovision drought with her
moody ballad “Voila.”

But she was edged out at the last minute by a surge in public votes for Måneskin, with a final tally of 524 to Pravi’s 499.

“I don’t want to be a sore loser,” Beaune said, but “in terms of image, we can’t let people think that such competitions can result in such behaviour.”

The president of France’s public broadcasting group, however, said Monday that France would not contest its second-place finish, no matter the speculation over David’s backstage antics.

“France has absolutely no intention to lodge an appeal,” France Televisions chief Delphine Ernotte told the Parisien newspaper. “The vote was quite clearly in Italy’s favour — it didn’t steal its
victory and that’s what matters,” she said.

Pravi herself said she was not interested in the speculation.

“What’s true is that they were chosen by both the public and the jury. Afterwards, if they use drugs or they put their underwear on backwards or whatever… it’s not my problem,” she told France 2 television on Sunday.

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