Chief correspondent, West and Central Africa
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Mar 12, 2014

French justice minister urged to quit over Sarkozy phone-taps

PARIS (Reuters) – France’s opposition conservatives called on Wednesday for Francois Hollande’s justice minister to quit after it emerged the government knew that ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy’s phone was being tapped, contrary to her earlier statement.

Sarkozy’s conservatives have accused Hollande’s government of using the surveillance, launched by investigators as part of a party funding inquiry, to discredit them ahead local elections later this month where ruling Socialists risk losing ground.

Feb 18, 2014

France, Germany rein in ambitions for joint cabinet meeting

PARIS (Reuters) – Angela Merkel dreams of a European communications network and Francois Hollande of an “energy Airbus” but talks between the German and French leaders on Wednesday will be far more modest in scope, officials said.

The meeting in Paris includes their entire cabinets and is the most broad-ranging yet between the two EU partners since the conservative Merkel’s re-election last year in charge of a “grand coalition” with German centre-left Social Democrats.

Feb 12, 2014

SocGen chief sees EU move to ban prop trades foundering

PARIS (Reuters) – European Commission moves to ban top EU banks from market bets with their own money will run out of momentum once this year’s health check on the sector shows it is in sound shape, the head of France’s Societe Generale (SOGN.PA: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) said.

Such an outcome would be a victory for the French view that Europe’s banks have drawn lessons from the financial crisis and should now be given the regulatory room needed to compete with foreign rivals, notably from the United States.

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.

    • 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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