Chief correspondent, West and Central Africa
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May 21, 2013

EU leaders look to end Apple-style tax avoidance schemes

BRUSSELS/PARIS, May 21 (Reuters) – Growing concern in
European capitals about aggressive tax avoidance by high-profile
corporations such as Amazon, Google and Apple looks set to steal
the agenda of a European Union summit in Brussels on Wednesday.

The summit was originally called to discuss energy policy
and tax coordination, but press reports in Britain, France and
the United States exposing how little tax major international
companies have been paying by carefully structuring their
European operations has forced the issue up the agenda.

May 16, 2013

France’s Hollande urges euro zone government

PARIS (Reuters) – French President Francois Hollande called on Thursday for an economic government for the euro zone with its own budget, the right to borrow, a harmonized tax system and a full-time president.

At a 150-minute news conference marking his first year in office, a day after economic data showed France had slipped into recession, the Socialist leader defended his record on economic reform and budget discipline and told the French people they would have to work “a bit longer” for a full pension in future.

May 14, 2013

France passes reform to ease hire-and-fire rules

PARIS (Reuters) – The French parliament passed a landmark reform of the country’s labor code on Tuesday, part of President Francois Hollande’s efforts to convince European partners he is determined to revamp the euro zone’s second largest economy.

Negotiated with employers and three trade unions in January, the law makes it easier for firms to make layoffs or reduce pay and working hours in economic downturns but raises the cost of employing staff on widely-used very short-term contracts.

Apr 24, 2013

Insight: What ever happened to France’s voice in Europe?

BRUSSELS/PARIS (Reuters) – A few hours after midnight one Sunday last month, as negotiations over a rescue for Cyprus dragged into a second day, French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici fell asleep.

Most euro zone ministers in Brussels that night failed to notice, continuing to pore over the details of the multi-billion-euro deal. It fell to Christine Lagarde, French director of the International Monetary Fund, to approach Moscovici and nudge him awake, according to witnesses at the March 24 talks.

Apr 24, 2013

What ever happened to France’s voice in Europe?

BRUSSELS/PARIS, April 24 (Reuters) – A few hours after
midnight one Sunday last month, as negotiations over a rescue
for Cyprus dragged into a second day, French Finance Minister
Pierre Moscovici fell asleep.

Most euro zone ministers in Brussels that night failed to
notice, continuing to pore over the details of the
multi-billion-euro deal. It fell to Christine Lagarde, French
director of the International Monetary Fund, to approach
Moscovici and nudge him awake, according to witnesses at the
March 24 talks.

Apr 5, 2013

Merkel rival stands by Hollande in rejecting austerity

PARIS (Reuters) – Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Social Democrat (SPD) rival in this year’s election accused the German leader during a visit to France on Friday of dragging Europe’s southern economies into a vicious circle of ruin by insisting on fiscal austerity.

The accusation by Peer Steinbrueck, made after talks with French President Francois Hollande, echoed France’s campaign for a re-balancing of euro zone policy to allow more leniency on budget deficits and promote more growth.

Mar 25, 2013

French “boss of bosses” battles rulebook to lead reform drive

PARIS, March 25 (Reuters) – From her office across the lawns
of the Champs de Mars from the Eiffel Tower, employers’
federation boss Laurence Parisot is fighting the rulebook to
stay on the frontline of France’s battle for economic reform.

As head of Medef she wields more power than some cabinet
ministers and has led prickly negotiations with trade unions to
address what many, from independent economists to President
Francois Hollande, consider a major reason for France’s loss of
industrial competitiveness – high unit labour costs and
inflexible work practices.

Mar 22, 2013

Sarkozy’s lawyer says L’Oreal heiress case is flawed

PARIS (Reuters) – Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy came out fighting on Friday after he was placed under investigation for exploiting the mental frailty of the country’s richest woman to raise election funds, with his lawyer rejecting the case as flawed.

A Bordeaux magistrate launched an inquiry on Thursday into whether Sarkozy took advantage of 90-year-old L’Oreal (OREP.PA: Quote, Profile, Research) heiress Liliane Bettencourt, after she was declared in a state of dementia, to help raise money for his 2007 election campaign.

Mar 22, 2013

Sarkozy’s lawyer says L’Oreal heiress party funding case is flawed

PARIS (Reuters) – Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy came out fighting on Friday after he was placed under investigation for exploiting the mental frailty of the country’s richest woman to raise election funds, with his lawyer rejecting the case as flawed.

A Bordeaux magistrate launched an inquiry on Thursday into whether Sarkozy took advantage of 90-year-old L’Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt, after she was declared in a state of dementia, to help raise money for his 2007 election campaign.

Mar 1, 2013

France “entente frugale” defense pact here to stay

LONDON/PARIS (Reuters) – Dubbed the “entente frugale” by wags and criticized by some as a dangerous dilution of military sovereignty, Franco-British defense cooperation is nonetheless growing stronger.

Shrinking budgets, a less indulgent United States and Europe’s diminishing military clout in the world have bolstered the two countries’ determination to work together.

    • 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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