Investment strategy correspondent, London
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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.

May 15, 2014

Robust German growth puts stagnant France in shade

BERLIN/PARIS (Reuters) – Germany posted strong growth in the first quarter of the year and the contrast with France could not have been starker: the euro zone’s second largest economy failed to expand at all.

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 expand by 0.2 percent.

May 7, 2014

France’s Montebourg says euro rate is matter for politicians

PARIS (Reuters) – Economy Minister Arnaud Montebourg stepped up France’s push for a weaker euro on Wednesday, saying political leaders had the right to assess the right level for the currency in a position completely at odds with Germany’s.

French politicians and businesses have become increasingly vocal about calling for steps to curb the growing strength of the euro, with complaints growing as first-quarter corporate earnings are often dragged down by exchange rates.

May 7, 2014

Weak French output casts doubts on growth, German industry orders slump

PARIS/BERLIN, May 7 (Reuters) – French factories produced
much less than expected in March while German industry orders
unexpectedly fell the most in 1-1/2 years, data showed on
Wednesday, feeding speculation of fresh European Central Bank
action to support the euro zone recovery.

France also reported a wider trade deficit, casting doubt on
President Francois Hollande’s recent predictions that the bloc’s
second-largest economy is finally turning around.

May 7, 2014

Weak French industrial output casts doubts on growth, German industry orders tumble

PARIS, May 7 (Reuters) – French factories produced much less
than expected in March while the country’s trade deficit
worsened, casting doubt on President Francois Hollande’s latest
predictions that the economy is finally turning around.

Coming after a first-quarter drop in consumer spending, the
data released on Wednesday underlined the challenges facing the
euro zone’s second-largest economy.

Nov 28, 2013

France divided over prostitution crackdown

PARIS (Reuters) – Local movie stars have signed petitions, political parties are split, and sex workers complain the government is doing them out of a living. France is divided over a bid to crack down on prostitution.

Lawmakers will start debating on Friday a bill aimed at stemming prostitution with steep fines to clients – a radical switch from France’s traditionally tolerant stance that will give it some of the toughest legislation in Europe.

Nov 27, 2013

Spain, France reverse roles as economic fortunes diverge

MADRID/PARIS, Nov 27 (Reuters) – One year ago, when Spain’s
Mariano Rajoy travelled to Paris to meet France’s Francois
Hollande for their annual bilateral summit, only one question
was on the agenda: if and when Spain would seek a European
bailout for its crippled public finances.

As the Spanish prime minister and the French president
prepare to meet again in Madrid on Wednesday at 1450 local (1350
GMT), many believe their countries have reversed roles.

Nov 26, 2013

French employers tell government to stop knocking business

PARIS (Reuters) – France’s Socialist government must carry out a proper tax reform that will cut the pressure on businesses and stop knocking the country’s entrepreneurs, France’s “boss of bosses” Pierre Gattaz said in an interview.

President Francois Hollande has had a rocky relationship with business since coming to power in May last year, with efforts to ease up labor rules and cut red tape often drowned by business anger at rising taxes and complex regulations.