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Mar 4, 2012

Europe leaders in pact to shun France’s Hollande: media

BERLIN/PARIS (Reuters) – French Socialist presidential candidate Francois Hollande said on Sunday he was unconcerned by a report that conservative European leaders had agreed to shun his campaign and he vowed to stick with his plan to renegotiate an EU budget treaty.

German weekly magazine Spiegel reported that Christian Democratic Chancellor Angela Merkel, Spanish conservative Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and Italy’s technocrat leader Mario Monti had agreed not to meet Hollande because of his opposition to the fiscal pact signed by 25 European leaders in Brussels last week.

Mar 3, 2012

Sarkozy courts French right with immigration pledge

PARIS (Reuters) – French President Nicolas Sarkozy marked a rightward shift in his re-election campaign on Saturday, pledging to cut the number of immigrants and calling for clear labeling of halal meat in a bid to entice voters away from the National Front.

Speaking to thousands of flag-waving supporters at a rally in the western city of Bordeaux, Sarkozy vowed to defend secular values in France – which has Europe’s largest Muslim minority – and to send a tough message on law and order if he wins a fresh five-year term in a two-round election in April and May.

Mar 3, 2012

French journalist tells of escape from Homs

PARIS (Reuters) – Wounded French journalist Edith Bouvier feared her attempt to escape from Homs had ended inside a dark, 3-km tunnel that rebels were using to supply the besieged Baba Amro district when the Syrian army bombarded its exit.

Her leg broken by a shell which killed two foreign journalists days earlier, Bouvier was abandoned, taped to a makeshift stretcher, as rebels and dozens of wounded fled the reverberations of explosions and headed back to the shattered neighborhood.

Mar 1, 2012

Sarkozy claims victory with steel plant investment

PARIS (Reuters) – President Nicolas Sarkozy claimed a political victory on Thursday by unveiling investment in an idled steel plant that has become a symbol of France’s industrial decline, but owner ArcelorMittal said its restart depended on an economic recovery.

The Florange mill near the German border has become a battleground for a presidential election in April and May, with Sarkozy and his Socialist rival Francois Hollande pledging to save the plant housing the last blast furnace in France’s former steelmaking heartland.

Mar 1, 2012

Steel plant at heart of French election to restart-Sarkozy

PARIS, March 1 (Reuters) – President Nicolas Sarkozy
announced on Thursday that an idled steel plant which had become
a battleground for presidential elections this year would
restart its blast furnance after owner ArcelorMittal
had agreed to pump in 17 million euros.

The conservative leader, who trails his Socialist opponent
in polls, said ArcelorMittal owner Lakshmi Mittal had pledged
the investment at a meeting on Wednesday, lifting uncertainty
over the future of the last blast furnance in France’s former
steelmaking heartland.

Feb 26, 2012

G20 inches toward $2 trillion in rescue funds

MEXICO CITY, Feb 25 (Reuters) – Germany is easing its
opposition to a bigger European bailout fund, officials said,
smoothing the way for the world’s leading economies to secure
nearly $2 trillion in firepower to prevent further fallout from
the euro-zone’s sovereign debt crisis.

Finance leaders from the Group of 20, meeting in Mexico City
this weekend, are trying to build up massive international
resources by the end of April to convince financial markets they
can prevent the euro-zone’s deep problems from inflicting more
damage on a still-fragile world recovery.

Feb 25, 2012

Euro-zone deal on firewall awaits Germany

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Germany may not be ready to back an increase in Europe’s bailout fund at a summit next week, delaying efforts to meet international demands for Europe to strengthen its defenses against the region’s sovereign debt crisis.

Many finance leaders of G20 countries, meeting in Mexico City this weekend, have demanded that Europe strengthen its firewall as a condition for providing more resources to the International Monetary Fund.

Feb 25, 2012

Euro zone decision on size of bailout fund seen delayed

MEXICO CITY, Feb 25 (Reuters) – Euro zone leaders may
not be able to meet international demands to ramp up their own
funds for bailing out the bloc’s debtors when they meet next
week because Germany is showing no sign of dropping its
opposition to the plan, euro zone officials said.

A bigger European fund is a condition for major non-European
economies before they lend more money to the International
Monetary Fund to provide an even bigger wall of cash to fight
the crisis that has already claimed three euro debtor countries
and now threatens the much bigger economies of Italy and Spain.

Feb 16, 2012

Sarkozy launches re-election bid with pledge to listen

PARIS (Reuters) – President Nicolas Sarkozy declared his candidacy for a second term on Wednesday, seeking to overturn a wide opinion poll deficit with promises to get the unemployed back to work and to listen more to French voters by calling referendums on reforms.

The conservative leader ended the wait to officially launch his campaign against Socialist frontrunner Francois Hollande by saying that, like a sea captain in a storm, he could not “abandon my post.”

Feb 15, 2012

France’s Sarkozy launches presidential election campaign

PARIS (Reuters) – President Nicolas Sarkozy formally declared his candidacy for a second term on Wednesday seeking to overturn a wide poll lag with promises to get the unemployed back to work and use referendums to consult the French people on reforms.

The centre-right president, who trails Socialist challenger Francois Hollande in opinion polls, ended weeks of speculation over the timing of his bid by saying that like a sea captain in a storm, he could not “abandon my post”.