BRUSSELS, March 10 (Reuters) – European Union finance
ministers gave France two more years on Tuesday to cut its
budget deficit to within EU limits, extending the deadline for
the third time since 2009 as Paris struggles to enact reforms.
The euro zone’s second biggest economy has repeatedly missed
deadlines and budget consolidation targets and, under EU budget
rules sharpened during the sovereign debt crisis, was facing
fines of up to 4 billion euros ($4.3 billion) by late last year.
BRUSSELS, March 9 (Reuters) – Warning Greece it had “no time
to lose”, euro zone ministers agreed technical talks between
finance experts from Athens and its international creditors
would start on Wednesday with the aim of unlocking further
“We’ve talked about this long enough now,” an
impatient-sounding Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem
said after chairing Monday’s meeting of euro zone colleagues,
their first since Feb. 20, when they extended Greece’s bailout
deal to June.
BRUSSELS, March 9 (Reuters) – The head of euro zone finance
ministers urged Greece on Monday to “stop wasting time” and
buckle down to serious talks and implementation of a reform
programme to secure urgently needed fresh funds from its
“Little has been done since the last Eurogroup (meeting two
weeks ago) in terms of talks, in terms of implementation,”
Eurogroup chairman Jeroen Dijsselbloem said on arrival for a
meeting of ministers of the 19-nation currency bloc.
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.