Investment strategy correspondent, London
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Jun 14, 2013

French should pay into pensions for longer, panel says

PARIS (Reuters) – The French should pay contributions for longer to get a full pension and well-off pensioners should pay more taxes, a much-awaited advisory report to President Francois Hollande’s government said on Friday.

Pension reform, a controversial issue for decades in France, will be closely watched by its euro zone partners, which expect changes in the generous but costly system in return for giving Paris more time to bring its public finances back in line.

Jun 14, 2013

French panel urges longer pension contributions

PARIS (Reuters) – The French should pay contributions for longer to get a full pension and well-off pensioners should get fewer tax rebates, a much-awaited advisory report to President Francois Hollande’s government said on Friday.

The study – which the government has said is of consultative value – proposes only a fractional increase in employers contributions after the European Commission and IMF both recommended that employers should not see their costs rise.

Jun 10, 2013

French unions threaten protests over pension reform

PARIS (Reuters) – French labour unions stepped up the pressure on President Francois Hollande with threats of demonstrations over his pension reform plans on Monday, days before a panel tasked with advising his government is due to unveil proposals.

Hollande has told the French they must expect to work longer but instead of pushing for an outright raising of the statutory retirement age from 62 has suggested only that the contributions period needed for a full pension may have to be extended.

Jun 6, 2013

French jobless rate hits 14-year high, government target in doubt

PARIS (Reuters) – France’s unemployment rate hit a 14-year high in the first quarter of 2013, casting fresh doubt on President Francois Hollande’s goal of reversing the rising jobless trend by year-end.

The jobless rate of 10.8 percent, published by the INSEE statistics agency on Thursday, was the highest on record since the first quarter of 1999.

Jun 4, 2013

IMF tells France to step up reforms, rein in spending

PARIS, June 4 (Reuters) – France must lower labour costs,
open up regulated professions, deepen its labour and business
reforms and cease tax hikes to get back to growth and bolster
competitiveness, the IMF said on Tuesday.

A day after slashing its growth forecast for Germany, the
International Monetary Fund said that France was set to contract
slightly more than its current forecast and that unemployment
would keep rising in spite of the government’s promise to
reverse the jobless trend by year-end.

Jun 4, 2013

IMF tells France to step up reforms and contain public spending

PARIS, June 4 (Reuters) – France must step up reforms to
liberalise its economy and lower labour costs to get back to
growth and improve its competitiveness, the International
Monetary Fund said on Tuesday.

The IMF said the euro zone’s second-largest economy would
start turning around in the second half of the year. On Monday,
it halved its 2013 forecast for number one economy Germany based
on uncertainty in other euro zone economies, including
neighbouring France.

May 31, 2013

Record unemployment, low inflation underline Europe’s pain

BRUSSELS/PARIS (Reuters) – Unemployment has reached a new high in the euro zone and inflation remains well below the European Central Bank’s target, stepping up pressure on EU leaders and the ECB for action to revive the bloc’s sickly economy.

Joblessness in the 17-nation currency area rose to 12.2 percent in April, EU statistics office Eurostat said on Friday, marking a new record since the data series began in 1995.

May 30, 2013

French jobless total hits new record, in blow to Hollande

PARIS (Reuters) – French President Francois Hollande said on Thursday he was sticking to a target of cutting down unemployment by year-end, after fresh data showed that the number of jobless hit a new all-time high in April.

In a stark illustration of the challenge facing the Socialist president, the 3,264,400 registered job seekers in April marked two uninterrupted years of monthly rises and a 1.2 percent increase on March.

May 28, 2013

Germany fears revolution if Europe scraps welfare model

PARIS (Reuters) – German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble warned on Tuesday that failure to win the battle against youth unemployment could tear Europe apart, and dropping the continent’s welfare model in favour of tougher U.S. standards would spark a revolution.

Germany, along with France, Spain and Italy, backed urgent action to rescue a generation of young Europeans who fear they will not find jobs, with youth unemployment in the EU standing at nearly one in four, more than twice the adult rate.

May 28, 2013

Germany sees “revolution” if welfare model scrapped

PARIS, May 28 (Reuters) – German Finance Minister Wolfgang
Schaeuble warned on Tuesday that failure to win the battle
against youth unemployment could tear Europe apart, while
abandoning the continent’s welfare model in favour of tougher
U.S. standards would cause “revolution”.

Germany, along with France and Italy, backed urgent action
to rescue a generation of young Europeans who fear they will not
find jobs, with youth unemployment in the EU standing at nearly
one in four, more than twice the adult rate.