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Jul 14, 2012

France’s Hollande vows to fight job cuts, graft

PARIS, July 14 (Reuters) – President Francois Hollande
marked Bastille day celebrations on Saturday with a pledge to
fight industrial layoffs and clean up French politics, after
watching troops parade down the Champs Elysees as jets streamed
the national colours overhead.

The Socialist leader’s first National Day since winning
office in May was overshadowed by outcry at mass job cuts
announced by carmaker Peugeot and a scandal over his
private life threatening to undermine his image as “Mr Normal”.

Jul 14, 2012

France’s Hollande: Peugeot must renegotiate layoff plan

PARIS (Reuters) – French President Francois Hollande said on Saturday Peugeot must renegotiate a plan to lay off 8,000 workers to lessen its social impact and accused the carmaker of lying over its intentions and making serious strategic errors.

In a television interview, Hollande said a government rescue plan for the ailing car sector due to be announced on July 25 would include public incentives to encourage consumers to purchase French-made, environmentally friendly cars.

Jul 6, 2012

French trade gap shrinks but manufacturing weak

PARIS (Reuters) – France’s trade deficit narrowed more than expected in May to 5.3 billion euros due to lower oil prices but manufacturers are still struggling to compete on exports, highlighting a policy challenge for the new Socialist government.

President Francois Hollande, who took power in May, has promised to end France’s steady industrial decline – which has culled 750,000 manufacturing jobs in the last decade – but the trade figures showed key sectors such as auto-makers remain under pressure.

Jul 5, 2012

France slaps seven billion euros in taxes on rich and big firms

PARIS (Reuters) – France’s new Socialist government announced tax rises worth 7.2 billion euros on Wednesday, including heavy one-off levies on wealthy households and big corporations, to plug a revenue shortfall this year caused by flagging economic growth.

In the first major raft of economic measures since Francois Hollande was elected president in May promising to avoid the painful austerity seen elsewhere in Europe, the government singled out large companies and the rich.

Jul 4, 2012

France slaps 7 billion euros in taxes on rich, big firms

PARIS (Reuters) – France’s new Socialist government announced a raft of tax rises worth 7.2 billions euros on Wednesday, including heavy one-off levies on wealthy households and big corporations, to plug a revenue shortfall this year from feeble economic growth.

A one-off levy of 2.3 billion euros ($2.90 billion) on those with net wealth of more than 1.3 million euros and 1.1 billion euros in extraordinary taxes on large banks and on energy firms holding oil stocks were central parts of an amended 2012 budget presented to parliament ahead of a vote later in July.

Jul 3, 2012

France cuts growth forecasts, prepares for cuts

PARIS (Reuters) – Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault slashed France’s official growth forecasts on Tuesday, paving the way for a slew of cuts next year that are bound to anger many after the new Socialist government promised to avoid austerity.

In response to a grim assessment of public finances by the state auditor on Monday, Ayrault said the economy was set to grow by only 0.3 percent this year, less than the 0.7 percent that the previous conservative government had envisaged.

Jul 2, 2012

France faces tougher cuts despite Hollande promises

PARIS (Reuters) – French President Francois Hollande, elected in May on a promise to avoid growth-sapping austerity measures, should make tough savings and public sector job cuts to meet a European deficit target, the national audit office said in a report on Monday.

Economists have warned for months that faltering economic growth was gnawing a hole in state revenues, but Hollande kept the issue largely under wraps until he won the presidency and his Socialist party topped parliamentary elections in June.

Jul 2, 2012

French audit office sounds warning on 2013 deficit

PARIS, July 2 (Reuters) – France’s new Socialist government
must cut public sector jobs and force through eye-watering
austerity measures next year to meet a key European deficit
target, the national audit office said on Monday in an in-depth
report on public finances.

Economists have warned for months that faltering economic
growth was gnawing a hole in state revenue, but President
Francois Hollande kept the issue largely under wraps until he
won presidential and parliamentary elections in May and June.

Jul 2, 2012

State auditor sounds warning on 2013 French deficit

PARIS (Reuters) – France will have to find 6-10 billion euros ($7.6-12.6 billion) this year and a massive 33 billion in 2013 to meet its European deficit targets, or risk unnerving financial markets, the state auditor told the new Socialist government on Monday.

Responding to President Francois Hollande’s request for a thorough review of state finances, the Court of Auditors – a quasi-judicial body responsible for overseeing public accounts – said a revenue shortfall was threatening deficit goals.

Jun 22, 2012

Hollande industry goal meets Peugeot town reality

SOCHAUX, France (Reuters) – When France’s new Socialist president, Francois Hollande, pledged to turn back the clock on France’s long manufacturing decline, the townsfolk of Sochaux could have taken it personally.

With unemployment at 12 percent and household income just 15,000 euros ($18,900) a year, life is tough in the yellow blocks of social housing overlooking a slate-grey Peugeot car plant, where 35,000 jobs have disappeared since the 1980s.