Investment strategy correspondent, London
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Jun 18, 2015

Greece’s Varoufakis says euro zone dangerously close to ‘accident’

LUXEMBOURG (Reuters) – Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said on Thursday the euro zone was dangerously close to accepting an “accident”, criticising other ministers who he said did not want to discuss his proposal to set up an automatic brake on the country’s public deficit.

It was still possible to reach a cash-for-reforms deal though time was running short, he said.

Jun 9, 2015

France unveils ‘Jobs Act’ to boost hiring at small firms

PARIS (Reuters) – France announced on Tuesday a set of measures to encourage small firms to hire by making labor rules more flexible and cutting costs, a move welcomed by business groups but condemned by some within the ruling Socialist party.

The package aims to tackle unemployment which, stuck above 10 percent, is a major challenge for President Francois Hollande. He has said he will not seek a second term in 2017 if unemployment has not dropped by then.

Jun 3, 2015

Spanish economy minister ‘totally sure’ of Greek deal

PARIS (Reuters) – Spanish Economy Minister Luis de Guindos said he was certain a deal would be reached between Greece and its creditors and a Greek exit from the euro zone would not happen.

He was speaking on the panel of a conference at the OECD think tank in Paris, where Portuguese Finance Minister Maria Luis Albuquerque suggested negotiations could be concluded “today, tomorrow, very shortly”.

Jun 2, 2015

The Hollande-Sarkozy re-match France doesn’t want

PARIS (Reuters) – Nicolas Sarkozy vs Francois Hollande: the re-match. With both having tightened their grips on their parties in recent days, a 2017 repeat of France’s 2012 presidential election now looks like the most likely scenario.

The snag is that three quarters of the French do not want either the current president or his predecessor to run again, polls show — a fact that could boost the protest vote for the far-right National Front while making for a low turnout that would give any mainstream victor a weak mandate for reforms.

May 28, 2015

UK takes hard line on EU reform as Cameron starts European tour

LONDON/PARIS (Reuters) – Prime Minister David Cameron said Britain’s relationship with the European Union was “not good enough” after his foreign minister warned the bloc had to change its founding treaties and give London a meaty reform deal to keep it as a member.

Speaking in Paris on the first day of a whirlwind European tour to try to drum up support for EU reform, Cameron said he was confident he could get a settlement, something he has promised to secure before giving Britons an EU membership in-out referendum by the end of 2017.

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.