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Apr 18, 2012

Socialist would hand France’s unions more power

PARIS (Reuters) – The Socialist frontrunner in France’s presidential election would hand militant trade unions a bigger role in the economy if he wins power next month, gambling on transforming traditionally combative labor relations, aides say.

Francois Hollande, who polls suggest is on course to become the first left-wing president in nearly two decades, believes a more cooperative approach could help restore public finances and improve flagging industrial competitiveness.

Apr 13, 2012

No reason for market attack on France after vote: Noyer

PARIS (Reuters) – Bank of France Governor Christian Noyer said on Friday he saw no reason for markets to target France in the wake of the presidential election provided the next government focuses on deficit reduction.

President Nicolas Sarkozy said this week victory for his Socialist rival Francois Hollande, who leads in opinion polls for the May 6 runoff, could lead to a crisis of confidence in France.

Apr 11, 2012

ECB’s Coeure says bond-buys still an option as Spain hurts

PARIS (Reuters) – The scale of market pressure on Spain is not justified given the reforms being undertaken by its government and the European Central Bank still has its bond-buying programme as an option, ECB Executive Board member Benoit Coeure said on Wednesday.

Markets are watching closely for any signs that a rise in Spanish bond yields back above 6 percent may prompt a change in ECB rhetoric after policymakers in recent weeks stressed it was now up to governments to deal with the crisis, not the bank.

Apr 11, 2012

ECB’s bond-buy programme available, says Coeure

PARIS, April 11 (Reuters) – The scale of market pressure on
Spain is not justified given the reforms being undertaken by its
government and the European Central Bank still has its
bond-buying programme as an option, ECB Executive Board member
Benoit Coeure said on Wednesday.

Markets are watching closely for any signs that a rise in
Spanish bond yields back above 6 percent may prompt a change in
the ECB’s rhetoric after policymakers in recent weeks underlined
it was now up to governments to deal with the crisis, not the
bank.

Apr 10, 2012

Socialists, despite rhetoric, would not carve up French banks

PARIS, April 10 (Reuters) – France’s Socialist presidential
frontrunner has branded finance his real enemy but his
government would be more lenient in carving up banks’ activities
than regulators in nearby Britain, regarded as a global haven
for finance, advisers say.

Francois Hollande, who leads President Nicolas Sarkozy
comfortably in polls ahead of France’s May 6 presidential
runoff, has said he wants to tax banks more heavily and separate
their “socially useful” activities from those seen as
speculative, in a bid to avoid a repeat of the financial crisis.

Apr 10, 2012

Sarkozy struggles in polls as French economy sputters

PARIS (Reuters) – President Nicolas Sarkozy’s effort to persuade voters he is the best man to lead a French economic recovery suffered a blow on Tuesday when a survey showed stalling growth as he struggles to make headway against his Socialist rival.

Less than two weeks before voting begins, the conservative’s narrow lead over challenger Francois Hollande is steady or shrinking for the April 22 first round and he is still trailing in the May 6 runoff, three opinion polls showed.

Apr 10, 2012

French economy grinds to a halt

PARIS (Reuters) – France’s economy posted no growth in the first quarter and there are no sign of a strong recovery in activity in the coming months, according to a Bank of France survey on Tuesday.

In its monthly report, the Bank of France indicated that the euro zone’s second largest economy avoided a recession, after it grew by 0.2 percent in the fourth quarter.

Apr 3, 2012

French Socialist’s toned-down treaty talk may assuage Berlin

PARIS (Reuters) – France’s Socialist presidential candidate has become the standard bearer of the European Left’s fightback against austerity, but the toned-down additions he is proposing to a German-inspired fiscal pact should prove acceptable to Berlin.

Francois Hollande, who leads in polls ahead of an expected May 6 runoff with conservative President Nicolas Sarkozy, alarmed many by vowing to “renegotiate” a treaty on budget discipline signed by 25 European leaders last month.

Apr 3, 2012

Analysis: French Socialist’s toned-down treaty talk may assuage Berlin

PARIS (Reuters) – France’s Socialist presidential candidate has become the standard bearer of the European Left’s fightback against austerity, but the toned-down additions he is proposing to a German-inspired fiscal pact should prove acceptable to Berlin.

Francois Hollande, who leads in polls ahead of an expected May 6 runoff with conservative President Nicolas Sarkozy, alarmed many by vowing to “renegotiate” a treaty on budget discipline signed by 25 European leaders last month.

Mar 31, 2012

German bid to save transactions tax gets cool response

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – German attempts to win backing for a watered-down tax on financial transactions in Europe received a lukewarm response on Saturday, in the face of opposition from some governments, putting a full-scale levy off the agenda for now.

Berlin has struggled to rally support for a tax on buying and selling shares, bonds and derivatives. At a meeting of EU finance ministers, it made a last-ditch attempt to salvage its prospects, offered to initially limit the tax to equities.