Senior Correspondent, France
Brian's Feed
Dec 12, 2012

Actor Depardieu’s Belgium move “pathetic”: French PM

PARIS (Reuters) – Actor Gerard Depardieu’s decision to establish residency in Belgium, which does not have a wealth tax, by buying a house just over the border with France, is “pathetic” and unpatriotic, French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said on Wednesday.

Depardieu has become the latest wealthy Frenchman after luxury magnate Bernard Arnault to look for shelter outside his native country following tax hikes by Socialist President Francois Hollande.

Dec 10, 2012

Car sales plunge, highlighting shrinking French economy

PARIS, Dec 10 (Reuters) – France’s central bank said on
Monday it expected the euro zone’s second-largest economy to
contract in the fourth quarter of 2012, a state underlined by
data showing tumbling car sales.

The Bank of France repeated a prediction that gross domestic
product will drop 0.1 percent in the three month to the end of
the year, compared with the third quarter.

Dec 1, 2012

France announces ArcelorMittal steelworks deal

PARIS, Nov 30 (Reuters) – The French government backed away
on Friday from a threat to nationalise a steelworks, saying it
secured promises from the owner, ArcelorMittal, to
invest and avoid any forced layoffs at the site where the
company has idled two blast furnaces.

Workers at the plant said the announcement fell well short
of what they had hoped from a government that won power in May
on promises to combat industrial decline and mass job losses in
Europe’s second-largest economy.

Nov 29, 2012

France’s National Front smells opportunity as rivals feud

PARIS (Reuters) – France’s far-right National Front party celebrated a fourfold increase in requests for membership on Thursday as a feud convulsed its main right-wing rival the UMP.

UMP leadership contenders accuse one another of fraud in an internal election and the party now risks a permanent split just months after it lost power, a potential gift for Socialist President Francois Hollande.

Nov 27, 2012

Sarkozy returns to French politics as party peace broker

PARIS (Reuters) – Ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy sought on Tuesday to broker a truce between the two men locked in a leadership dispute that could break up France’s right-wing opposition party just months after it lost power.

Nine days after a disputed internal leadership election that plunged his UMP party into crisis, the two politicians fighting to become leader agreed to hold a new election, but only if the re-run was endorsed first in a referendum among UMP members.

Nov 26, 2012

Strauss-Kahn awaits word on French sex inquiry

PARIS (Reuters) – Former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn finds out on Wednesday whether the last sex offence case against him in France will be dropped, 18 months after rape accusations ended his presidential ambitions.

The 63-year-old has asked a court in northern France to halt a judicial inquiry to determine whether he should stand trial on pimping charges related to sex parties attended by him and by prostitutes.

Nov 23, 2012

Sarkozy judge mistook hostage for billionaire -lawyer

PARIS (Reuters) – A judge investigating Nicolas Sarkozy’s campaign funding mistook a Colombian hostage for a billionaire backer of France’s right-wing party when he queried a meeting in the ex-president’s diary, a lawyer for Sarkozy said.

Sarkozy, who lost power in May, was questioned for 12 hours on Thursday by a judge who is trying to establish whether his election win in 2007 was aided by illegal funding from France’s richest woman, 90-year-old Liliane Bettencourt.

Nov 9, 2012

France slides towards recession

PARIS (Reuters) – France’s central bank said it expected the euro zone’s second-largest economy to slip into recession as 2012 ends – a scenario that could make it harder for the government to hit next year’s debt-reduction targets.

The Bank of France, which had already predicted gross domestic product would shrink 0.1 percent in the third quarter, said on Friday it was now expecting a similar 0.1 percent decline in the last three months of 2012 as well.

Oct 26, 2012

Anti-austerity stand on French left to test Hollande

TOULOUSE, France, Oct 26 (Reuters) – Growing opposition
within France’s ruling Socialist Party to Europe’s hard line on
budget austerity risks undermining President Francois Hollande’s
efforts to convince markets he is serious about meeting deficit
targets.

A rising chorus of critics in the party, meeting in the
southern city of Toulouse on Friday for its annual congress,
wants Hollande to take a tougher stand on pro-growth policies in
Europe to counter a German-led austerity drive.

Oct 24, 2012

Strauss-Kahn seeks comeback via conference circuit

PARIS, Oct 24 (Reuters) – Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former
IMF chief whose French presidential ambitions were shattered by
a sex scandal last year, is making a comeback in business and at
conferences.

The 63-year-old Strauss-Kahn was accused of trying to rape a
New York hotel maid in May 2011. He protested his innocence and
criminal charges against him were dropped, though civil
proceedings by the woman are still pending.