PARIS (Reuters) – France announced plans for fresh labour reforms on Wednesday, and the European Commission granted it a new two-year delay to meet an EU deficit target but gave Paris three months to do more to revamp its economy and finances or face sanctions.
A years-long standoff between Paris and Brussels has seen French leaders repeatedly miss deficit-cutting targets, arguing excessive budget cuts would undermine efforts to kickstart economic recovery.
PARIS (Reuters) – French consumer confidence rose to its highest level in nearly three years in February, adding to signs the euro zone’s second-largest economy is slowly lifting itself out of stagnation.
The news came hours before the European Commission met to decide on whether to give France more time to cut its public deficit, a move Paris says is needed to allow growth to return.
PARIS (Reuters) – The EU’s top economics official raised the threat of sanctions against France over its budget slippages on Monday but made clear that he would prefer to reach a deal that would grant Paris yet another reprieve in exchange for reform pledges.
The European Commission is due to say this week whether it considers that France’s efforts to reform its economy and cut its deficit are sufficient, despite repeated failures to meet fiscal goals.
PARIS (Reuters) – France is seeking to fend off the risk of EU sanctions over its budget deficit by telling the European Commission it will meet its structural deficit target this year, even if it means taking extra action to do so.
The European Commission is scheduled to rule on France’s budget deficits on Feb. 27. Theoretically, it could impose a fine, but a compromise is much more likely.
PARIS, Feb 17 (Reuters) – Francois Hollande faces a major
test on Tuesday when his flagship economic reform bill is put to
parliament, 10 days before the European Commission rules on
whether France’s reforms go far enough to avoid sanctions for
its budget slippages.
The bill cuts red tape in a wide variety of areas including
allowing more shops to open on Sundays and evenings, speeding up
dismissal procedures, opening up long-distance bus routes and
exposing the legal professions to more competition.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Talks between Greece and euro zone finance ministers over the country’s debt crisis broke down on Monday when Athens rejected a proposal to request a six-month extension of its international bailout package as “unacceptable”.
The unexpectedly rapid collapse raised doubts about Greece’s future in the single currency area after a new leftist-led government vowed to scrap the 240 billion euro bailout, reverse austerity policies and end cooperation with EU/IMF inspectors.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Greece agreed on Thursday to talk to its creditors about the way out of its hated international bailout in a political climbdown that could prevent its new leftist-led government running out of money as early as next month.
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, attending his first European Union summit, agreed with the chairman of euro zone finance ministers, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, that Greek officials would meet representatives of the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the IMF on Friday.
ATHENS/BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis began tense talks with euro zone finance ministers on Wednesday after his new leftist-led government won a parliamentary confidence vote for its refusal to extend an international bailout.
The former academic said before leaving Athens he was ready for a clash with euro zone paymaster Germany and its allies over Greece’s decision to scrap austerity measures, end cooperation with the “troika” of EU/ECB/IMF officials overseeing its bailout programme and demand a “haircut” reducing its debt burden.
ROME/PARIS (Reuters) – In Paris and Rome, it was sugar coated; in Berlin and Frankfurt unequivocal. But the message from European capitals to Greece’s new leaders was the same at every stop on last week’s tour – stick to your commitments.
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras will head to his first European summit on Thursday duly warned that it will be near impossible, as Athens wants, to rip up pledges made during the country’s four-year international bailout. Tsipras and his aides were also advised to learn the ways of diplomatic custom.
PARIS (Reuters) – The European Commission must take low inflation and growth into account to give countries like France more time to rein in their budget deficits, Finance Minister Michel Sapin told Reuters, saying a “Europe of sanctions” was not acceptable.
The EU executive will rule in March on the budgets of repeat offenders France, Italy and Belgium after twice postponing its decision last year in order to give them more time to prove they were taking the right steps to get their deficits down to EU limits.