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The Warsaw Voice » National Voice » June 30, 2011
France in Poland
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Working with the French
June 30, 2011   
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Olga Kożuszko-Pawełas, a partner in the Kunert, Kożuszko, Sanak Kancelaria Prawna KKS Legal Sp.k. law firm, talks to Magdalena Łasak about the legal aspects of working with French investors.

Are French investors any different from investors from other countries?
I should start by saying that for a long time France was the number one foreign investor in Poland. That shows that the French have a strong interest in Poland. I believe that economic reasons aside, the French choose to invest in Poland because they like the Poles, a result of, for example, the common history of the two nations and the same figures they look up to, such as Chopin and Marie Curie-Skłodowska.

Every country has its own characteristic features. Given my profession and the fact that our law firm has for years specialized in providing services to French-speaking businesses, I can also think of characteristic features in the way the French do business, approach their employees and conduct negotiations. The French focus on long-term goals in business, they name priorities and pay a great deal of attention to planning and work organization.

As far as their relations with employees are concerned, the French are dialogue-oriented and they appreciate initiative. When they negotiate, they focus on the essentials, agreeing on controversial issues one at a time so that negotiations can always stay on track.

What aspects of Polish law do French investors find the most problematic?
Foreign investors sometimes assume that Polish regulations are similar to those in their home countries. Certain similarities are indeed there, but so are major differences which, when ignored, may lead to serious consequences. The things that French investors often find surprising include the broad liability of management board members in companies, tax regulations, difficulties with immediate application of the comptes courants type of financing and short deadlines for parties to respond in court proceedings.

Are the French good people to work with?
Very good. They are very synthetic, a thing they learn at every phase of education. They plan each project in terms of deadlines, methodology and specific goals. Thanks to this attitude, work becomes easier and the decision-making process faster. Still, the French are also well-known for their affinity for rituals such as a morning cup of coffee and regular meal times. Therefore current business affairs are frequently discussed at the dinner table, preferably in French.
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