PARIS (Reuters) – Germany’s booming economy has dominated the early exchanges in France’s presidential election campaign but President Nicolas Sarkozy and his Socialist rival draw very different lessons from across the Rhine.
While Sarkozy believes France must copy Germany’s painful budget cuts, wage restraint and labour market deregulation to boost prosperity, Socialist poll frontrunner Francois Hollande warns that such austerity could choke off a fragile recovery.
BERLIN/PARIS, Feb 15 (Reuters) – Germany’s economy
contracted slightly in the last three months of the year while
France eked out an anaemic level of growth, suggesting the euro
zone may succumb to a mild recession with its high debtors still
deep in the mire.
German gross domestic product contracted 0.2 percent in the
fourth quarter, a slowdown from upwardly revised 0.6 percent
growth in the July-September period, data showed on Wednesday.
PARIS (Reuters) – France’s central government slashed its budget deficit last year by a third thanks to the end of one-off spending measures, the budget ministry said on Wednesday, but state auditors said much tougher austerity measures were needed to hit EU targets.
The central government’s 2011 shortfall came in at 90.8 billion euros, 4.5 billion euros better than forecast in last year’s budget, meaning France should comfortably beat its overall state deficit target for last year of 5.7 percent of GDP.
PARIS (Reuters) – France and Germany called on Monday for Greece to hand over into a protected account the interest it pays on its debt to ensure it meets commitments to creditors.
Days after German proposals for external surveillance of Greece’s budget caused outrage in Athens, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged the creation of the escrow account, which would wrest control of some bailout funds from Greece’s hands.
ATHENS/PARIS (Reuters) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel told Greece on Monday to make up its mind fast on accepting the painful terms for a new EU/IMF bailout, but the country’s political leaders responded by delaying their decision for yet another day.
Failure to strike a deal to secure the 130 billion euro rescue – much of which Germany will fund – risks pushing Athens into a chaotic debt default which could threaten its future in the euro zone.
ATHENS/PARIS (Reuters) – Greece let yet another deadline slip on Monday for responding to painful terms for a new EU/IMF bailout, as German Chancellor Angela Merkel made clear Europe’s patience is wearing thin over drawn-out negotiations among its feuding political leaders.
Failure to strike a deal to secure the 130 billion euro ($170 billion) rescue risks pushing Athens into a chaotic debt default which could threaten its future in the euro zone.
PARIS (Reuters) – Public sector holders of Greek debt, such as the European Central Bank, may need to take a haircut if a private sector restructuring is not enough to make Greece’s debt burden sustainable, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said on Wednesday.
Talks with private sector creditors hit an obstacle on Monday when euro zone ministers rejected their demands for a 4 percent coupon on new, longer-dated bonds in exchange for existing debt.
BRUSSELS, Jan 24 (Reuters) – France outlined on
Tuesday a blueprint of its own tax on financial transactions to
other EU countries, in a fresh attempt to win backing for such a
scheme across the European Union.
President Nicolas Sarkozy is hoping the tax will be
introduced in France before the end of the year, meaning that
parliament would have to approve it before breaking in February
ahead of presidential elections.
PARIS/BERLIN, Jan 23 (Reuters) – Germany and France
pressed on Monday for a rapid deal between Greece and its
private creditors that cuts its soaring debt to sustainable
levels and said they were committed to a sealing a new bailout
for Athens by March to avert a disastrous default.
Euro zone finance ministers met in Brussels to discuss the
terms of a Greek debt restructuring and new treaties that will
pave the way for tighter fiscal discipline and a new rescue fund
the bloc wants in place by mid-year.
PARIS/BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany and France pressed on Monday for a rapid deal between Greece and its private creditors that returns its soaring debt to sustainable levels and said they remained committed to a new bailout that is needed by March to avert a disastrous default.
Euro zone finance ministers are due to decide later on Monday what terms of a Greek debt restructuring they are ready to accept as part of a second rescue for Athens.