Chief correspondent, West and Central Africa
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Jun 23, 2014

Insight – French politics trump business over Alstom

PARIS (Reuters) – There was dual cause for back-slapping in President Francois Hollande’s Elysee Palace late on Friday night.

France had thrashed Switzerland in the soccer World Cup, so largely assuring its place in the next round. And the government had just imposed its will to end a two-month fight for control over ailing French engineering group Alstom.

Jun 22, 2014

French politics trump business over Alstom

PARIS, June 22 (Reuters) – There was dual cause for
back-slapping in President Francois Hollande’s Elysee Palace
late on Friday night.

France had thrashed Switzerland in the soccer World Cup, so
largely assuring its place in the next round. And the government
had just imposed its will to end a two-month fight for control
over ailing French engineering group Alstom.

Jun 21, 2014

European left-wingers back Juncker for EU Commission

PARIS (Reuters) – Left-wing European leaders agreed on Saturday to back Luxembourg conservative Jean-Claude Juncker for the post of European Commission president, saying they would seek other top EU jobs for their party allies in return.

Among those posts was the European Parliament presidency, whose incumbent Martin Schulz, a German Social Democrat, won their backing to seek a new term at the head of the EU assembly.

Jun 20, 2014

Siemens-Mitsubishi raises Alstom offer as end-game nears

PARIS/FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Siemens and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) raised their offer for Alstom’s energy arm on Friday, challenging a revamped bid by General Electric as the deadline for a decision nears.

President Francois Hollande’s government, which has said it will veto any deal that does not protect French jobs and control over strategic activities, has yet to pronounce on either deal ahead of a decisive Alstom board meeting set for Monday at the latest.

May 29, 2014

Book Talk: Game-changer or Marx revisited? A new tale of capital

PARIS (Reuters) – “Capital in the Twenty-First Century” by French economist Thomas Piketty has attracted praise and invective alike on its way to the top of the Amazon.com books best-seller list.

New York Times’ columnist Paul Krugman called its findings on wealth dating back to the 18th Century a game-changer that demolishes the myth that “great wealth is earned and deserved”.

May 29, 2014

Le Pen as President? France thinks the unthinkable

PARIS (Reuters) – The victory of France’s far-right National Front in EU elections and the disarray of its two main parties has the French asking themselves an awkward question: could its leader Marine Le Pen be their next president?

The answer for now is: “Probably not”. But the mere fact that serious analysts are even entertaining the prospect of Le Pen entering the Elysee Palace after 2017 elections shows how much the political landscape has been shaken in the past week.

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 26, 2014

French UMP party accused of funding irregularities

PARIS (Reuters) – A funding scandal threatened to damage France’s opposition UMP party on Monday as the lawyer for an event organiser hired for Nicolas Sarkozy’s failed 2012 election bid accused it of having ordered fake invoices to cover huge cost over-runs.

The accusation came a day before UMP chairman Jean-Francois Cope, a Sarkozy ally who was party general secretary at the time, was expected to face challenges to his leadership at a closed-door meeting of senior UMP officials.

May 26, 2014

French PM pledges tax cuts after far-right poll triumph

PARIS (Reuters) – French Prime Minister Manuel Valls promised on Monday to unveil more tax cuts for households this year, saying the triumph of the far-right National Front in European elections showed the French were fed up with years of tax rises.

Valls stressed France would still make the budget savings needed to bring its public deficit within EU limits. But, in a potential sign of clashes ahead, left-wingers in the ruling Socialist party said the poll results vindicated their opposition to such cuts.

May 25, 2014

Far-right National Front stuns French elite with EU ‘earthquake’

PARIS (Reuters) – Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Front stunned France’s political elite on Sunday as exit polls put it on track to win European Parliament elections there, with Francois Hollande’s Socialists well behind in third place.

If the FN score is confirmed, it will be the first time the anti-immigrant, anti-EU party has won a nationwide election in its four-decade history. It could secure as many as 25 seats in the new European Parliament, up from the three it won in 2009.

    • About Mark

      "Based in Dakar, I look after the Reuters file in West and Central Africa, except for Nigeria. Previously I covered politics and economics in Brussels, Paris, Berlin, Frankfurt and London."
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