France’s current economic concerns overshadow fears for longer-term issues, according to a risk perception survey, commissioned by Swiss Re, released at a conference held in Paris last Thursday.
Swiss Re concluded that “out of a total of 19 markets surveyed, France has more people concerned about the economy than any other surveyed country. These concerns for the short term mask longer-term fears, including the costs of energy, the quality of food and the financial burden of an ageing population.”
Swiss Re’s global Risk perception survey was conducted by The Gallup Organization – Europe, who interviewed “nearly 22 000 citizens across five continents and generations, aged 15 and above. Celebrating its 150 year anniversary under the theme of ‘Open minds connecting generations’.” Swiss Re said it is “is encouraging a dialogue about risks and how future generations are prepared to tackle them.”
Nearly three-quarters (74 percent) of those surveyed in France described the country’s economy as “not performing well,” and is therefore “one of the top risks facing France.” The percentage, Swiss Re noted, is “higher than in any other market surveyed. But the French are also very concerned about the cost of renewable energy, with 63 percent saying it’s too expensive.”
Another revelation in the report – surprising in a country that has long been associated with fine cuisine – were concerns about food, with “45 percent saying that it will be more difficult to maintain a healthy diet in 20 years’ time. Only Mexico has a higher proportion of respondents who are concerned about this topic.”
Ivo Hux, CEO Swiss Re France said: “While the economic situation currently weighs heavily on the minds of the people, their concerns for things that were once taken for granted – such as the quality of food – are seen as being under threat as well.” As part of the survey, the respondents were asked on what concerns them most about ageing, climate change, natural disasters, energy and food supplies.
“Despite the ongoing debate about retirement ages, nearly half (47 percent) of the respondents expect to work to 65 and beyond or even never retire. In addition, the French are more skeptical than their neighbors about the impact of climate change on their community. 18 percent say climate change has no effect on the likelihood of a natural catastrophe, whereas just 10 percent see a link “to a great extent”.
Hux also pointed out: “”Whether talking about retirement, the effects of climate change or a simple case of eating well, France has a unique perception of risk. It’s only through public and private partnerships that we will be able to provide people with the resilience they need to address the risks they face and protect our way of living.”
Source: Swiss Re