Chief correspondent, West and Central Africa
Mark's Feed
Aug 5, 2013

Analysis: How France’s Hollande plans to win his bet on jobs

PARIS (Reuters) – Defying all predictions by the IMF, the European Commission and the bulk of private economists, President Francois Hollande is still banking on a turnaround in French unemployment by the end of the year.

Not only that, he has upped the stakes by making it the top political priority of his Socialist government. “I will be judged on it,” he told the nation in a Bastille Day television interview last month.

Jul 30, 2013

Air coolant row empties Mercedes showrooms in France

PARIS, July 30 (Reuters) – July is never the best month for
car sales but Oussama Kaddoura, a Daimler Mercedes
agent for the past 30 years, has rarely seen one as bad as this.

France’s move to outlaw sales of several Mercedes models for
using an air-conditioner coolant banned by the European Union
not only stops him delivering cars already on order, but is also
scaring new clients away from his showroom in east Paris.

Jul 15, 2013

Analysis: France looks for a mellower Merkel post-election

PARIS (Reuters) – With quiet satisfaction, France’s Socialist government has watched Angela Merkel strike an ever softer stance on Europe in recent months as she prepares for Germany’s election.

What’s more, Paris believes the poll might just nudge the conservative chancellor yet further from the hardline fiscal austerity policies she has embodied for much of the euro zone’s debt crisis.

Jun 25, 2013

France pushing for EU to drop calls on retirement age – sources

PARIS (Reuters) – France is pushing for this week’s European Union summit to bury a suggestion by the bloc’s executive arm that it raise its statutory retirement age from 62, French sources said on Tuesday.

This is the latest in a series of tussles between France and the European Commission. Paris has already accused Brussels of trying to dictate reforms, and it has also blocked EU efforts to include film and other cultural goods in talks on an EU-U.S. trade pact.

Jun 19, 2013

Analysis: French EU-wariness complicates life for Hollande

PARIS (Reuters) – A feeling in France that the European Union no longer works in its interest is fueling tensions between Paris and Brussels and adding pressure on President Francois Hollande to be more assertive in Europe.

Successive Europe-wide polls show that disenchantment with the EU is rising fastest in France, a founder member whose battle to reform its ailing economy has now become the top preoccupation of the 27-nation bloc.

Jun 16, 2013

French Socialists call for weaker euro, eased EU budget rules

PARIS (Reuters) – France’s ruling Socialists called on Sunday for a weaker euro and changes to EU rules on budget deficits, accusing the centerright governments of Britain and Germany of creating economic hardship across the European Union.

At a conference on Europe, Francois Hollande’s party adopted a policy paper that toned down earlier attacks on German Chancellor Angela Merkel, providing some relief to the French president as he seeks to ease tensions with Berlin.

Jun 12, 2013

France threatens to block start of EU-U.S. trade talks

PARIS/BRUSSELS (Reuters) – France threatened on Wednesday to block the start of free trade talks between the European Union and the United States if movies and digital media are not kept out the negotiations.

Two days before EU countries are supposed to give the go-ahead for negotiations, France said it would veto the talks unless the sector – that it sees as crucial to its cultural identity and under threat from Hollywood – is excluded.

Jun 12, 2013

France digs in on culture before EU meeting on U.S. trade talks

PARIS/BRUSSELS, June 12 (Reuters) – France is “extremely
determined” to keep movies and digital media out of free trade
talks between the EU and the United States, a government
minister said on Wednesday, a stance that could block the start
of negotiations.

Two days before EU countries are supposed to give the
go-ahead for negotiations, the EU is struggling to find a
compromise that satisfies France’s “cultural” concerns without
exempting the audiovisual sector from the wide-reaching talks.

Jun 11, 2013

Special Report: French homeless seek refuge in offices

PARIS (Reuters) – The occupiers staked their claim to the building with pizza.

When the first of 16 families entered a vacant four-storey office block in Paris one night last December, they placed repeated food orders so the neighbors could see from the comings-and-goings of delivery men that the address was occupied. Under French law, witness accounts of residency make eviction harder.

Jun 11, 2013

Anti-squatting: protection for vacant offices

PARIS (Reuters) – The four men occupying the disused food wholesale facility in northern Paris are not just tenants – they’re guards.

Engineer Simon Lavalette and three others – a journalist, an ex-fireman and a construction worker – live in the building, which sits in a row of empty premises waiting for business tenants on the banks of the Seine.

    • 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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