Investment strategy correspondent, London
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May 22, 2015

Party vote gives France’s Hollande boost, fends off rebels’ challenge

PARIS (Reuters) – Socialist party members backed French President Francois Hollande’s policies in an internal party vote, boosting his chances of standing unopposed for a re-election ticket in 2017 despite months of tension over the government’s economic line.

With a large part of the vote counted, a broad-brush policy statement put forward by Hollande loyalists for the party’s annual congress won more than 60 percent of the vote, a party official told Reuters on Friday.

May 19, 2015

Hollande vows to push on with reform despite French teacher strike

PARIS (Reuters) – Thousands of teachers went on strike across France on Tuesday to protest against new measures aimed at revamping the country’s creaking school system, but President Francois Hollande vowed to push ahead with the reform despite widespread resistance.

Education is a sensitive area for his already unpopular government. France’s 840,000 teachers have traditionally been a bastion of support for Hollande, but the proposed reform has turned many against him and his ruling Socialists.

May 19, 2015

French teacher strike tests government’s reform mettle

PARIS (Reuters) – Teachers go on strike across France on Tuesday, testing President Francois Hollande’s resolve to push through reforms against strong opposition to measures his government says will improve the creaking school system.

School reform is a sensitive subject in a country that prides itself on equal access to education, and the plan to revamp secondary teaching is opposed by a majority of citizens, the conservative opposition and even parts of the ruling left.

May 13, 2015

France outpaces Britain, Germany with fastest growth in 2 years

PARIS, May 13 (Reuters) – Cheap oil and a weak euro helped
France’s economy expand at its fastest rate in two years in the
first quarter as consumers spent more freely, but the growth
pickup was not sharp enough to generate extra jobs.

Gross domestic product rose 0.6 percent quarter-on-quarter,
twice the rate in Germany and in Britain – which both reported a
slowdown – and beating economists’ forecasts. The government
said it would now beat its 2015 growth target.

May 13, 2015

French economy gathers steam, German growth slows

PARIS/BERLIN (Reuters) – France posted its fastest economic growth rate in two years in the first three months of 2015 but Germany slowed from the robust pace it rattled along at late last year, official data showed on Wednesday.

Quarterly French growth of 0.6 percent easily surpassed market expectations for a 0.4 percent expansion but Europe’s largest economy disappointed by growing 0.3 percent, well below the 0.7 percent rate of the last quarter of 2014.

May 7, 2015

Analysis – France’s Marine Le Pen gambles with political patricide

PARIS (Reuters) – By pushing her maverick father out of the far-right party he founded four decades ago, French National Front leader Marine Le Pen is banking on an act of political patricide to ensure he does not end up ruining her bid for power.

The risk is that the 86-year-old former paratrooper, suspended from the party on Monday over provocative comments on the Holocaust, does not go down quietly.

May 7, 2015

France’s Marine Le Pen gambles with political patricide

PARIS (Reuters) – By pushing her maverick father out of the far-right party he founded four decades ago, French National Front leader Marine Le Pen is banking on an act of political patricide to ensure he does not end up ruining her bid for power.

The risk is that the 86-year-old former paratrooper, suspended from the party on Monday over provocative comments on the Holocaust, does not go down quietly.

Apr 25, 2015

Isolated in debt talks, Greek finance rebel gets the cold shoulder

RIGA (Reuters) – As the buses carrying European finance ministers left for a gala dinner in the Latvian capital on Friday night, one of the party hung back at the hotel and then wandered off alone into the dusk.

Greece’s Yanis Varoufakis had other dinner plans, he said, after a bruising first day of meetings in Riga that underlined his isolation as he tries to avert national bankruptcy.

Apr 24, 2015

Euro zone warns Greece no cash till full reform deal

RIGA (Reuters) – Euro zone finance ministers delivered a stark warning to Greece on Friday that its leftist government will get no more aid until it agrees a complete economic reform plan, as Athens lurches closer to bankruptcy.

After a tough morning of talks with Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, the chairman of the Eurogroup of finance ministers, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, slammed the door on a request for early cash in return for partial reforms.

Apr 15, 2015

France challenges EU structural deficit targets

PARIS (Reuters) – France will target smaller reductions in its structural budget deficit in 2016 and 2017 than called for by the European Commission in order to preserve economic growth, the government said on Wednesday.

French officials said the cuts sought by the EU executive on the structural deficit – which strips out the effects of the economic cycle – were too high.