Chief correspondent, West and Central Africa
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Jan 23, 2014

Analysis: Hardest yet to come for France’s Hollande on reforms

PARIS (Reuters) – French President Francois Hollande has won cautious backing from Berlin, Brussels and financial markets for a centrist reform push that could be his last chance to get the euro zone’s second largest economy motoring.

A week after his January 14 announcement, it is not clear how and when he will pull off the public spending and tax cuts at the heart of the plan. It is also uncertain whether French business will play ball with his goal of cutting unemployment.

Jan 15, 2014

French companies, unions question Hollande’s new vision

PARIS, Jan 15 (Reuters) – French business raised doubts on
Wednesday over Socialist President Francois Hollande’s plan for
public spending cuts and structural reform to revive the euro
zone’s second largest economy.

His allies hailed a new “social democrat” vision for France
but unions said they were worried about job cuts to the army of
state sector workers and far-left politicians accused him of a
sell-out as he moved towards the political centre.

Jan 15, 2014

Hollande allies hail new “social democrat” vision

PARIS (Reuters) – Francois Hollande’s allies dismissed on Wednesday suggestions the Socialist French president had lurched right with plans to cut public spending and the taxes on business, hailing what they called a new “social democrat” vision.

Hollande brushed aside questions about his personal life at a marathon news conference on Tuesday in which he set out plans to find at least 50 billion euros of spending cuts between 2015-2017 and reduce corporate charges by 30 billion euros.

Jan 14, 2014

France’s Hollande sets out reforms, stonewalls on private life

PARIS (Reuters) – President Francois Hollande brushed aside questions on Tuesday about an alleged affair with an actress as he announced reforms to ease the tax burden on business, reduce labour costs and cut public spending to revive France’s stagnant economy.

He also called for France and Germany to harmonise corporate taxation and create a joint venture to help manage the transition to renewable energy, modelled on successful European planemaker Airbus.

Jan 14, 2014

Hollande private life risks hijacking reform message

PARIS, Jan 14 (Reuters) – President Francois Hollande aims
to lay out plans for the French economy on Tuesday but a news
conference is set to be dominated by talk of his private life
after his partner went into a hospital following reports he had
an affair.

His New Year’s encounter with journalists in his Elysee
Palace will be his first public appearance since a celebrity
magazine on Friday published photos it said showed Hollande
making a nocturnal visit to French film actress Julie Gayet.

Jan 13, 2014

Hollande bids to deflect glare from private life to reforms

PARIS (Reuters) – President Francois Hollande will aim at a news conference on Tuesday to set out plans to revive the weak French economy and deflect questions about his private life after allegations surfaced of a secret love affair with an actress.

His New Year’s encounter with journalists in his Elysee Palace will be the French leader’s first public appearance since a celebrity magazine on Friday published photos it said showed Hollande making a nocturnal visit to a lover.

Jan 12, 2014

France’s Hollande has tight window to step up reform pace

PARIS (Reuters) – The coming weeks will tell whether Francois Hollande can pick up the pieces of his accident-prone presidency and start to pull the euro zone’s second-largest economy out of decline. It may be his last chance to do so.

The new year could hardly have started worse for the French leader, who failed to keep a promise to the nation to halt the rise in unemployment by the end of 2013 and is now dealing with media allegations of a secret love affair.

Jan 9, 2014

France’s National Front readies mass showing for local vote

PARIS (Reuters) – France’s anti-immigrant National Front will field candidates in a record 500 towns in March’s municipal elections in a bid to break the dominance of mainstream parties in town halls, FN leader Marine Le Pen said on Thursday.

The party is hoping to capitalise on broad disillusionment with President Francois Hollande’s Socialist government and the main conservative opposition to make gains both in the local vote and European Parliament elections two months later.

Jan 7, 2014

French cities ban comedian accused of anti-Semitic jibes

PARIS (Reuters) – Mayors of several French cities lined up on Tuesday to ban the shows of a comedian the government accuses of insulting the memory of Holocaust victims and threatening public order with anti-Semitic jibes.

The mayor of Tours barred a performance by Dieudonne M’bala M’bala set for Friday in the central French city, following mayors of Marseille and Bordeaux who late on Monday announced bans on his tour due to start this week.

Dec 31, 2013

French priest kidnapped in Cameroon set free

PARIS/YAOUNDE (Reuters) – A French Catholic priest kidnapped in northern Cameroon last month was released on Monday and said he had spent the weeks pacing his tent prison, torn by a mixture of boredom and anger.

France said it had not paid any ransom for his release.

The November 13 kidnapping of Georges Vandenbeusch, 42, was one of a series of attacks on French targets in Africa since France launched a military intervention in Mali in January to oust al Qaeda Islamists who had forged links with Boko Haram militants.

    • 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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