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Jul 4, 2012

France slaps 7 billion euros in taxes on rich, big firms

PARIS (Reuters) – France’s new Socialist government announced a raft of tax rises worth 7.2 billions euros on Wednesday, including heavy one-off levies on wealthy households and big corporations, to plug a revenue shortfall this year from feeble economic growth.

A one-off levy of 2.3 billion euros ($2.90 billion) on those with net wealth of more than 1.3 million euros and 1.1 billion euros in extraordinary taxes on large banks and on energy firms holding oil stocks were central parts of an amended 2012 budget presented to parliament ahead of a vote later in July.

Jul 3, 2012

France cuts growth forecasts, prepares for cuts

PARIS (Reuters) – Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault slashed France’s official growth forecasts on Tuesday, paving the way for a slew of cuts next year that are bound to anger many after the new Socialist government promised to avoid austerity.

In response to a grim assessment of public finances by the state auditor on Monday, Ayrault said the economy was set to grow by only 0.3 percent this year, less than the 0.7 percent that the previous conservative government had envisaged.

Jul 2, 2012

France faces tougher cuts despite Hollande promises

PARIS (Reuters) – French President Francois Hollande, elected in May on a promise to avoid growth-sapping austerity measures, should make tough savings and public sector job cuts to meet a European deficit target, the national audit office said in a report on Monday.

Economists have warned for months that faltering economic growth was gnawing a hole in state revenues, but Hollande kept the issue largely under wraps until he won the presidency and his Socialist party topped parliamentary elections in June.

Jul 2, 2012

French audit office sounds warning on 2013 deficit

PARIS, July 2 (Reuters) – France’s new Socialist government
must cut public sector jobs and force through eye-watering
austerity measures next year to meet a key European deficit
target, the national audit office said on Monday in an in-depth
report on public finances.

Economists have warned for months that faltering economic
growth was gnawing a hole in state revenue, but President
Francois Hollande kept the issue largely under wraps until he
won presidential and parliamentary elections in May and June.

Jul 2, 2012

State auditor sounds warning on 2013 French deficit

PARIS (Reuters) – France will have to find 6-10 billion euros ($7.6-12.6 billion) this year and a massive 33 billion in 2013 to meet its European deficit targets, or risk unnerving financial markets, the state auditor told the new Socialist government on Monday.

Responding to President Francois Hollande’s request for a thorough review of state finances, the Court of Auditors – a quasi-judicial body responsible for overseeing public accounts – said a revenue shortfall was threatening deficit goals.

Jun 22, 2012

Hollande industry goal meets Peugeot town reality

SOCHAUX, France (Reuters) – When France’s new Socialist president, Francois Hollande, pledged to turn back the clock on France’s long manufacturing decline, the townsfolk of Sochaux could have taken it personally.

With unemployment at 12 percent and household income just 15,000 euros ($18,900) a year, life is tough in the yellow blocks of social housing overlooking a slate-grey Peugeot car plant, where 35,000 jobs have disappeared since the 1980s.

Jun 21, 2012

France’s Socialists prepare 2013 spending cuts

PARIS, June 21 (Reuters) – France’s Socialists plan
unpopular welfare and civil service job cuts next year in an
effort to trim up to 30 billion euros from the deficit,
calculating that tax rises on the rich will convince the less
well off to accept their share of the pain.

President Francois Hollande won election last month
promising to rescue the nation’s finances and persuade a
sceptical Germany that growth, not austerity, was the key to
reviving the troubled euro zone’s economy.

Jun 18, 2012

French Socialists eye tax rises after big poll win

PARIS (Reuters) – France’s Socialists vowed on Monday to use a resounding victory in weekend parliamentary elections to pursue President Francois Hollande’s drive for growth in Europe while sticking to promises to cut the budget deficit, mostly through taxation increases.

Hollande will use a special session of parliament next month to whittle down France’s numerous tax exemptions and pass tax rises for large corporations, especially banks and energy firms, in a bid to cut the deficit to within the European Union’s 3 percent limit by next year despite a stagnant economy.

Jun 18, 2012

French Socialists vow reforms after big poll win

PARIS (Reuters) – A resounding Socialist victory in weekend parliamentary elections will allow President Francois Hollande to press ahead with reforms to tame France’s deficit and promote economic growth in Europe, a senior minister said on Monday.

The Socialists, who won a comfortable majority in Sunday’s parliamentary elections, will use a special session of parliament next month to axe tax breaks and increase taxes for large corporations, particularly banks and energy companies.

Jun 17, 2012

Socialists on track for majority in French vote

PARIS (Reuters) – France voted in a parliamentary run-off on Sunday expected to hand President Francois Hollande’s Socialist party a majority and strengthen his position in legislative battles over euro zone crisis policy.

A clear majority reliant neither on opposition conservatives nor eurosceptic hard leftists, as opinion polls suggest, would be a boon as Hollande prepares legislation to raise taxes, adjust budget spending and ratify an EU fiscal discipline pact.