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May 16, 2012

French finmin Moscovici a European specialist

PARIS, May 16 (Reuters) – Pierre Moscovici, named French
finance minister on Wednesday, is a reform-minded Social
Democrat whose expertise in European affairs will prove valuable
as France leads a fight-back against Germany-led austerity in

The bald 54-year-old, who was a junior European Affairs
minister in a previous Socialist government, was catapulted to
France’s top economics job after managing Francois Hollande’s
successful campaign for the presidency.

May 16, 2012

Hollande govt to be dominated by moderates, Aubry out

PARIS, May 16 (Reuters) – The government of France’s new
President Francois Hollande is likely to be dominated by
moderate social democrats after party leader Martine Aubry,
overlooked for the prime minister’s role, said on Wednesday she
would not be in the cabinet.

Aubry, daughter of former European Commission president
Jacques Delors and on the left of the Socialist Party, who was
once tipped to be its candidate in the presidential election,
made it clear she was unhappy to accept a consolation post.

May 16, 2012

France’s Hollande to give moderates key cabinet jobs

PARIS (Reuters) – French President Francois Hollande is to unveil his government on Wednesday, likely to opt for moderate social democrats in the key posts of finance and foreign affairs and put a more old school Socialist in charge of a new super ministry for youth and education.

The cabinet, due to be announced in early afternoon, is expected to respect gender parity and reflect Hollande’s pledge to make schools and youth employment a central priority of his administration.

May 15, 2012

French PM knows corridors of power in Paris, Berlin

PARIS (Reuters) – France’s new Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault is a German-speaking parliamentary veteran whose familiarity with the corridors of power in Berlin may prove invaluable as Paris seeks to temper Germany’s austerity drive in Europe.

The stately, silver-haired Ayrault – a former German teacher and long-time ally of president-elect Francois Hollande – has made pragmatism his hallmark in holding together the Socialists’ fractious parliamentary group as its floor leader since 1997.

May 15, 2012

French economy stalls, posing challenge for Hollande

PARIS, May 15 (Reuters) – France’s economy stalled in the
first quarter as household consumption flatlined, businesses
pared back investment and exports slowed, underlining the
challenge facing Socialist President Francois Hollande as he
takes office on Tuesday.

It may add to his drive to pus the euro zone to adopt growth
as well as austerity policies.

May 15, 2012

German economy powers on, French growth evaporates

BERLIN/PARIS (Reuters) – Germany’s economy confounded expectations by posting robust growth in the first quarter of the year while France could summon up none at all, data showed on Tuesday.

Gross domestic product in Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, rose by 0.5 percent on the quarter, bouncing back from a 0.2 percent slide in the last three months of 2011. France’s economy stagnated, although it grew slightly at the end of last year.

May 14, 2012

“Head chopper” tipped for French finance minister

PARIS (Reuters) – Michel Sapin, favorite to be named French finance minister this week, is a disciple of European integration who revels in his nickname the “head chopper” earned two decades ago when he cut down to size speculators attacking the franc.

With the euro zone crisis flaring and investors scrutinizing France’s deficit, Sapin is an outspoken advocate of restoring the health of the country’s finances by raising taxes on the rich while gradually reining in government spending.

May 14, 2012

Germanophile tipped as French prime minister

PARIS (Reuters) – German-speaker Jean-Marc Ayrault, tipped to be named France’s prime minister on Tuesday, is a veteran parliament leader whose familiarity with Germany and deal-making skills may prove invaluable as his Socialist government seeks to challenge Berlin’s focus on austerity.

The stately, silver-haired Ayrault – a former German teacher and long-time ally of president-elect Francois Hollande – has made pragmatism his hallmark in holding together the Socialists’ fractious parliamentary group as its floor leader since 1997.

May 9, 2012

Hollande meets Van Rompuy to discuss euro, growth

PARIS (Reuters) – French president-elect Francois Hollande began his drive to persuade European partners to shift their economic policy priority from austerity to growth when he met on Wednesday with European Council President Herman Van Rompuy.

Hollande takes his call to add growth elements to Europe’s fiscal compact to Berlin next week.

May 8, 2012

France’s Hollande may roll back spending promises

PARIS (Reuters) – France’s Socialist president-elect Francois Hollande may use a summer audit of state finances to water down his generous campaign promises rather than risk a backlash from financial markets against stubbornly high deficits and rising debt.

Advisers say he could even freeze some spending if the review turns up any nasty surprises, soothing investors who are worried he has become the figurehead for a fight against German-imposed austerity in the euro zone.