Senior Correspondent, France
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Mar 7, 2012

Too late to be sorry, Hollande tells France’s Sarkozy

PARIS, March 7 (Reuters) – French presidential
favorite Francois Hollande on Wednesday dismissed Nicolas
Sarkozy’s promise to squeeze more tax out of the country’s
biggest companies as a late act of contrition after five years
in power.

Weeks from voting day, the 57-year-old Socialist – who
accuses Sarkozy of helping the rich to tax breaks at
the needy’s expense – took to the airwaves to denounce the
latest attention-grabbing campaign promise from the president,
who is seeking re-election.

Feb 23, 2012

Hollande derides Sarkozy plan for needy and fat cats

PARIS, Feb 23 (Reuters) – French presidential
frontrunner Francois Hollande accused rival Nicolas Sarkozy on
Thursday of trying to hoodwink voters with a promise to boost
the pay of low-wage earners and halt excessive payouts to
company bosses if re-elected.

In an interview on state radio, Socialist Hollande said a
proposal the conservative Sarkozy floated on prime-time
television the previous evening amounted to “trickery”.

Feb 7, 2012

French trade deficit hits high, competitiveness at issue

PARIS, Feb 7 (Reuters) – France’s trade deficit hit a
record high of just shy of 70 billion euros in 2011 as sharply
rising energy import costs and lower export growth combined to
underline the country’s struggle to keep competitive globally.

Farm produce and luxury goods such as handbags and perfume
were the exceptions, France’s customs office said on Tuesday, in
a dismal year for exports that contrasted sharply with bumper
returns in neighbouring Germany.

Jan 26, 2012

France’s Hollande targets rich in tax-rise manifesto

PARIS, Jan 26 (Reuters) – French presidential
frontrunner Francois Hollande says he will raise taxes on banks,
big firms and the rich to help him wipe out the public deficit
while pumping more funds into education and state-aided job
creation if he wins power in May.

Hollande, tipped in polls to unseat Nicolas Sarkozy and
become France’s first Socialist president in 17 years, promises
to spend 20 billion euros on hiring 60,000 extra schooling staff
and police, to help start-ups and small companies and create
150,000 state-aided jobs.

Jan 23, 2012

Strauss-Kahn’s wife launches Le Huffington Post

PARIS (Reuters) – Anne Sinclair, wife of the disgraced former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, is seeking to relaunch a previously stellar journalism career as the leading light for the new French version of U.S. news-and-opinion website The Huffington Post.

Sinclair, a multi-millionaire left-winger whose prime-time news interviews and trademark mohair tops enchanted as many as 12 million viewers in her heyday, has picked up the baton after more than a decade off-screen, this time as editorial director of “Le Huffington Post,” a French-flavored offshoot of the site started by Arianna Huffington (

Jan 22, 2012

French would-be president Hollande slams world of finance

PARIS, Jan 22 (Reuters) – Socialist challenger
Francois Hollande, front-runner in the race to unseat French
President Nicolas Sarkozy, declared war on the world of finance
on Sunday in a keynote speech to 25,000 supporters three months
before the presidential election.

The address, attended by Socialist Party top-brass and some
showbiz celebrities, was more an exercise in presidential style
than substance.

Jan 19, 2012

Big powers wary as IMF calls for more funds

PARIS/MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Two years after it requested $500 billion to fight off a global slump, the International Monetary Fund’s call for a further $600 billion to limit damage from Europe’s debt crisis prompted supportive words from Brussels on Thursday but no stampede in the rest of the world to commit the cash.

As officials from Group of 20 economic powers gathered in Mexico City for their first meeting of 2012, policymakers appeared at an impasse over whether European countries should have to promise additional action before more money is pledged for the IMF.

Jan 19, 2012

Paymasters wary as IMF starts new funds quest

PARIS (Reuters) – Two years after it requested $500 billion to fight off a global slump, the International Monetary Fund’s call for a further $600 billion to limit the fallout from Europe’s debt crisis prompted supportive words from Brussels on Thursday but no stampede in the rest of the world to commit the cash.

The Washington-based IMF secured a predictably warm response from the European Commission, the European Union’s executive body in Brussels, which urged the G20 economic powers to deliver.

Jan 17, 2012

Triple-A cloud darkens Sarkozy’s re-election prospects

PARIS, Jan 17 (Reuters) – Standard & Poor’s decision
to lower France’s credit rating will help outsiders in the
presidential election, throwing open what had long looked like a
two-horse race between Nicolas Sarkozy and Socialist frontrunner
Francois Hollande.

That is unlikely to be fatal for Hollande but it is bad news
for conservative incumbent Sarkozy, who consistently trails his
left-wing challenger in the opinion polls and commands a fragile
advantage over far-right leader Marine Le Pen.

Jan 10, 2012

Soccer star makes French “presidential bid” for poor

PARIS (Reuters) – Soccer star turned actor Eric Cantona launched a mock bid for the French presidency on Tuesday in a stunt designed to highlight the plight of millions of poor and homeless people.

The former Manchester United striker appeared on the front cover of the left-leaning Liberation newspaper, next to the headline “Cantona enters the campaign” and an appeal for the 500 signatures he would need to run for the top job.