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Aug 14, 2012

Germany still grows in second quarter, France flatlines

BERLIN/PARIS (Reuters) – Germany posted modest economic growth in the second quarter of the year and France stagnated, official data showed on Tuesday, suggesting the euro zone as a whole contracted over the three months.

Europe’s largest economy eked out growth of 0.3 percent over the quarter, marginally beating forecasts, but it is unlikely to be able to defy gravity indefinitely unless decisive action is taken to tackle the currency bloc’s debt crisis.

Jul 19, 2012

Analysis: Peugeot pushes France towards labor reform

PARIS (Reuters) – Mass layoffs at Peugeot are piling pressure on France’s new Socialist government, which can’t afford to bail out the auto sector, to cut social welfare levies instead as a way of easing labor costs and making French industry more competitive.

President Francois Hollande, elected in May on a pledge to reverse France’s steady manufacturing decline, faces public expectations for him to reduce the 8,000 job cuts announced by the country’s largest car maker last week, opinion polls show.

Jul 19, 2012

Peugeot pushes France towards labour reform

PARIS, July 19 (Reuters) – Mass layoffs at Peugeot are
piling pressure on France’s new Socialist government, which
can’t afford to bail out the auto sector, to cut social welfare
levies instead as a way of easing labour costs and making French
industry more competitive.

President Francois Hollande, elected in May on a pledge to
reverse France’s steady manufacturing decline, faces public
expectations for him to reduce the 8,000 job cuts announced by
the country’s largest car maker last week, opinion polls show.

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.