PARIS (Reuters) – France cut its budget deficit target for this year on Thursday and said economic growth could beat the government’s 1 percent forecast, after reporting a smaller-than-expected fiscal gap for 2014.
Finance Minister Michel Sapin said France, which has repeatedly missed its fiscal targets, is confident it will finally bring the deficit below an EU cap of 3 percent of GDP on schedule in 2017.
PARIS, March 25 (Reuters) – French business morale was at
its highest for nearly three years in March, adding to signs the
euro zone’s No. 2 economy is emerging from stagnation on the
back of lower oil prices and a weaker euro.
The composite indicator of morale rose to 96 from 94 in
February, its highest since April 2012, lifted by retail trade
and by an improvement in the services sector.
PARIS (Reuters) – Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy has put a faltering comeback back on track by steering his conservatives to victory over the far-right National Front in local elections, but major obstacles remain to his presidential ambitions.
Sunday’s results in the first round of voting mean his UMP party is well placed to make sweeping gains in the March 29 run-off for councillors in France’s “departements”, at the cost of President Francois Hollande’s Socialists.
PARIS (Reuters) – French spy agencies will have more powers to bug and track would-be Islamist attackers and authorities will be able to force Internet providers to monitor suspicious behavior under a draft law unveiled on Thursday.
Just over two months after 17 people were killed in attacks by homegrown Islamist gunmen in Paris, Prime Minister Manuel Valls unveiled a bill to allow spy agencies to tap phones and emails without seeking permission from a judge.
PARIS/ATHENS (Reuters) – Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras tried to reassure euro zone partners on Thursday that Greece would stick to an extended bailout agreement with its international creditors even as a war of words rumbled on between Athens and Berlin.
Tsipras used a visit to the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, an inter-governmental think-tank, to make his case for a long-term restructuring of Greece’s debt while promising to implement agreed reforms.
PARIS (Reuters) – The European Central Bank’s quantitative easing program has kicked off without a hitch, ECB executive board member Benoit Coeure said on Thursday, adding that the central bank had no problems in finding bonds to buy.
The ECB has bought 9.8 billion euros worth of assets in three days, Coeure said, with an average maturity of nine years, putting it well on track to reaching a total of 60 billion euros in bonds in March, as intended by the ECB. The program began on Monday.
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.