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What is the Franco-British Council?

The Franco-British Council was created in 1972 on the joint initiative of President Georges Pompidou and Prime Minister Edward Heath, when Britain joined the European Community. The Council's purpose is to promote better understanding between Britain and France in the context of a developing Europe and of an increasingly globalised community. It encourages the exchange of ideas and personal contacts between groups and individuals through comparative debates and reports, involving leading representatives of the worlds of culture, science, the arts, education, politics and business.

There are two sections, one based in London and one in Paris. Members of the Franco-British Council are prominent representatives of different sectors (political, academic, business, culture). Each section has a Chairman, Trustees and a small office. Core funding comes from the Foreign Office and additional sponsorship is sought from the private sector on a project by project basis. The main work of the Council is its programme of meetings designed top bring together experts, primarily non-members, from both sides of the Channel, to discuss topical questions of common interest. After the meetings, reports are written with the recommendations that emerge from the seminars and these are distributed to key policy makers in the two countries. 

Recent seminars have been on the following topics:

  • Diversity 2.0 chaired by Clive Myrie and Jacques Martial and addressed by Gordon Brown, the then Prime Minister
  • Franco British Perspectives on the Emergence of China with Jonathan Fenby and Paul Jean-Oritz
  • Towards a Better Measurement of GDP with David Willets MP and Alain de Botton
  • Behavioural Economics with Sir Gus O'Donnell and Olivier Ouillier