Chief correspondent, West and Central Africa
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Jun 3, 2013

Analysis: Franco-German EU deal puts onus on Hollande to reform

PARIS (Reuters) – A Franco-German deal to strengthen the euro zone has ended months of bickering between Paris and Berlin and raised the onus on French President Francois Hollande to embark on potentially explosive social and economic reforms.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Europe’s most powerful politician, made a string of symbolic concessions to France in joint proposals for closer economic policy coordination outlined last week, in return for a clear commitment to reform.

May 30, 2013

Germans irked as Hollande says EU cannot dictate French reforms

PARIS/BERLIN (Reuters) – President Francois Hollande pledged on Thursday to carry out long overdue reforms of France’s pension system and labor markets but said it was up to Paris, not the European Commission, to determine how they are implemented.

At a joint news conference with visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Hollande defended his comment that the EU executive cannot “dictate” reforms to member states – a defiant, nationalist tone that angered Germany’s ruling conservatives.

May 30, 2013

Hollande reform defiance sparks German anger

PARIS/BERLIN (Reuters) – President Francois Hollande’s insistence that the EU executive can’t “dictate” reforms to France has outraged Angela Merkel’s conservatives, hours before the German leader was due in Paris for talks.

Unveiling reform recommendations for the 27-nation European Union on Wednesday, the European Commission urged Hollande to rein in public spending, revamp pensions and cut labor costs in return for a two-year reprieve on budget deficit cuts.

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.

    • 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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