Investment strategy correspondent, London
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Mar 12, 2015

Tsipras promises Greece will keep its word amid German spat

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.

Mar 12, 2015

Coeure says ECB’s QE program kicks off without a hitch

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.

Mar 10, 2015

EU gives France third extension to cut its budget deficit

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.

Mar 9, 2015

EU, Greece to start technical loan talks Wednesday

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.

Mar 9, 2015

EU urges Greece to “stop wasting time” on reform

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
international creditors.

“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.

Feb 25, 2015

France promises new labour reforms as EU gives guarded reprieve

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.

Feb 25, 2015

French consumer confidence at highest in nearly three years

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.

Feb 23, 2015

Moscovici raises threat of French budget sanctions but eyes deal

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.

Feb 19, 2015

France tells EU it will act further on deficit if needed

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.

Feb 17, 2015

Hollande’s flagship economic reform law faces parliamentary test

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.