Investment strategy correspondent, London
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Jun 20, 2014

EU eyes simpler fiscal rules in year-end review

LUXEMBOURG, June 20 (Reuters) – The European Union will
review its fiscal rules at the end of this year to see if they
can be made simpler and tweaked to encourage growth and jobs
after years of budget consolidation.

Planned since the rules were tightened in 2011, at the
height of the debt crisis, the review will focus on whether
those changes have worked and if countries are now coordinating
economic policies better.

Jun 20, 2014

ECB joins IMF to tell Europe now is the time for reforms

LUXEMBOURG, June 20 (Reuters) – Very low borrowing costs
give Europe an excellent opportunity to carry out reforms
urgently needed to bolster growth and public finances, ECB
executive board member Benoit Coeure said on Friday.

With the worst of the financial crisis now over and fears of
a break-up of the euro zone all but forgotten, governments in
highly indebted countries from Italy to Ireland are finding it
ever easier and cheaper to borrow.

Jun 19, 2014

EU can be flexible on fiscal consolidation, but reforms first-officials

LUXEMBOURG, June 19 (Reuters) – The European Union could be
flexible about the time members need to fix their budgets if
they reform to boost growth, but it must first have proof such
efforts are taking place, EU policymakers said on Thursday.

Euro zone finance ministers, meeting in Luxembourg, agreed
the Stability and Growth Pact need not be changed to allow for
such flexibility of the EU’s fiscal rules.

Jun 19, 2014

Euro zone ministers say EU fiscal rules flexible, no need to change

LUXEMBOURG, June 19 (Reuters) – The European Union fiscal
rules can accommodate efforts to stimulate economic growth, so
there is no need to change them, EU finance ministers and
policymakers said on Thursday.

The ministers laid out their positions as they gathered for
their monthly meeting, addressing a subject Italy had brought to
the fore when it said earlier this year it wanted EU policies to
better support growth.

Jun 13, 2014

Diminished France loses influence in Europe

PARIS (Reuters) – It’s not a good sign when the leader of a G7 nation feels the need to state his country still matters.

That is precisely what French President Francois Hollande did at a meeting of European Union leaders last month after his Socialist party’s humiliating defeat by the hard right National Front in European Parliament elections.

Jun 1, 2014

France arrests suspect in Brussels Jewish museum shooting

PARIS/BRUSSELS (Reuters) – A 29-year-old Frenchman believed to have returned recently from fighting with Islamist militant rebels in Syria has been arrested for the killing of three people at Brussels’ Jewish Museum last month, prosecutors said on Sunday.

Mehdi Nemmouche was detained on Friday after a random check at a bus terminal in the French city of Marseille showed he was carrying a Kalashnikov rifle, another gun and ammunition similar to those used in the shooting last weekend, French and Belgian prosecutors said.

May 29, 2014

Election rout could weaken Hollande’s reform drive, tilt growth debate

PARIS (Reuters) – Sunday’s European election rout will make it even harder for Francois Hollande to reform the French economy but his weakness at home could prove to be a bargaining chip in building support for an EU growth drive.

While Hollande reacted to defeat in March’s town hall elections by bringing in a new prime minister and promising to speed up reform of France’s complex local government, faced with the rise of the far-right he has this week merely reiterated his call for Europe to re-focus on economic growth and investment.

May 26, 2014

France’s Hollande wants to change EU focus after far-right win

PARIS (Reuters) – French President Francois Hollande pledged on Monday to press ahead with reforms at home whilst pushing for the EU to change tack, saying the triumph of the French far right in European elections showed voters felt Europe was not protecting them.

In a televised address to the nation a day after the anti-immigrant, anti-EU National Front party won its first-ever nationwide poll, Hollande said this had been “a vote of mistrust towards Europe.”

May 15, 2014

German growth puts stagnant France and Italy in shade

BERLIN/PARIS (Reuters) – Germany posted strong growth in the first quarter of the year in stark contrast with France: the euro zone’s second largest economy failed to expand at all and Italy, the third largest, went into reverse.

German quarterly growth of 0.8 percent marginally exceeded forecasts and was double the pace at the end of 2013. France was expected to pale in comparison but had still been forecast to grow by 0.2 percent.

May 15, 2014

French economy flat in first quarter, targets in doubt

PARIS (Reuters) – Weak consumer spending and business investment brought the French economy to a standstill in the first quarter of the year, casting doubt on the government’s annual growth forecast and its pledges to meet EU deficit targets.

The flat reading missed analyst expectations and highlighted the diverging paths of the euro zone’s two largest economies as European powerhouse economy Germany on Thursday posted 0.8 percent growth in the first quarter.