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Feb 15, 2012

German GDP drops, France edges up, periphery deep in gloom

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.

Feb 8, 2012

French deficit drops, auditor urges stronger action

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.

Feb 6, 2012

France, Germany press for Greek debt escrow account

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.

Feb 6, 2012

Greeks delay bailout talks as Merkel demands action

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.

Feb 6, 2012

Merkel presses Greece as another bailout deadline slips

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.

Jan 25, 2012

Public sector may need to take part in restructuring: Lagarde

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.

Jan 24, 2012

France seeks support for financial transaction tax

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.

Jan 23, 2012

Germany, France press for rapid Greek debt deal

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.

Jan 23, 2012

Germany, France press for Greek debt deal

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.

Jan 23, 2012

France, Germany say Greek debt deal taking shape

PARIS, Jan 23 (Reuters) – France and Germany said on
Monday that a deal with private sector investors to reduce
Greece’s debt burden was “taking shape” but Athens needed to
stick to its reform promises to secure a new EU/IMF programme
needed to avoid default by March.

Private creditors said on Sunday they had come to the limits
of the losses they could concede in a Greek debt swap, putting
the ball in the court of the EU and the IMF.