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May 17, 2013
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Hollande gets serious on Europe – at last

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By Pierre Briançon

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

François Hollande knows that the widening Franco-German divide lies at the heart of the euro zone crisis. In a press conference on Thursday, the French president showed that he wants to find a way to work with German Chancellor Angela Merkel to take Europe forward. He suggested the creation of an “economic government” of the monetary union, while addressing a key German concern: Paris seems ready to accept sovereignty transfers of a sort that would make such a centralised body effective.

Apr 29, 2013
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Political heat endangers no-brainer ECB rate cut

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By Pierre Briançon and Olaf Storbeck

The authors are Reuters Breakingviews columnists. The opinions expressed are their own

The heat is on for Mario Draghi again this week. What should have been a rather banal decision on rates will prove controversial whatever the outcome. Give credit to euro zone leaders for their ability to create drama whenever things threaten to go too quiet on the crisis front. The governing council of the European Central Bank will have to decide whether to cut rates or not at its meeting May 2. The case for doing it is a no-brainer, but euro zone politics gives the decision an intensity it shouldn’t have.

Apr 17, 2013
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Graft show-trial a new sign of Putin’s weakness

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By Pierre Briançon

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are her own.

Alexei Navalny rose to prominence as a Western-style shareholder activist in a country devoid of Western-style capitalism. He took apart Russian companies’ available statements and numbers to expose graft, corruption and embezzlement detrimental to investors.

Mar 25, 2013
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The first oligarch dies, his kleptocracy thrives

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By Pierre Briançon

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Boris Berezovsky built something that lasted. The man found dead on March 23 may have been alone, broken, bitter, and a shadow of his flamboyant former self as Russia’s richest man and king-maker. Yet the system he invented two decades ago in the throes of the big Soviet meltdown is functioning well. The men at the top may have changed, and turned against their former mentor and master. But the rulers of today’s Russia – both the oligarchs who looted the country’s resources and branched out, and the clique of ex-KGB officials working hard to get their hands on a share of the loot – are Berezovsky’s children.

Mar 13, 2013
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Russia’s central bank can avoid “putinisation”

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By Pierre Briançon

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Elvira Nabiullina has the worst possible credential for the job of head of the Russian central bank: she is a close ally of Vladimir Putin. The former economy minister, currently the Russian president’s chief economic adviser, will take the new post in June. Her appointment has been greeted with some scepticism.

Mar 4, 2013
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Swiss may show the way on pay

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By Pierre Briançon

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Voters in Switzerland have adopted a law by referendum that will give shareholders extensive powers to limit pay for executives, force them to exercise their rights seriously and will establish across-the-board transparency on management compensation. Golden handshakes, or special bonuses like those awarded to chief executives after a merger, will be banned. Non-compliance with the new law will be a criminal offence punishable by jail terms of up to three years.

Mar 1, 2013
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UK’s EU problem becomes more pressing

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By Pierre Briançon

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

It has taken just a short week to expose British Prime Minister David Cameron’s stated European policy as lacking in both strategy and tactics.

Feb 26, 2013
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Euro zone must change to allow Italy to reform

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By Pierre Briançon

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

The downside of democracy is that people take it seriously. The Italians have spoken, in their effervescent, yet rather clear way. Europe’s powers-that-be are sorry that the “pro-reform parties” didn’t win a governing majority in Rome. The vote has opened weeks of political uncertainty the country could do without. Whatever its next government, and no matter how stable it proves, Italy will pay a price if it fails to reform.

Jan 16, 2013
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Renault job cuts test France’s industry fetishism

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By Pierre Briançon

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Renault was known in the old days, as France’s “social laboratory”. The carmaker’s powerful unions and state ownership guaranteed high pay, generous benefits, and short working weeks, occasionally interrupted by legendary strikes. Then globalisation, privatisation and a five-year slump in European car sales made the lab’s experiment unaffordable.

Jan 3, 2013
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Depardieu would find heaven in Putin’s Russia

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By Pierre Briançon

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Tax heaven can’t wait. Vladimir Putin has seized on an inebriated joke from his good friend Gerard Depardieu and granted the French actor Russian citizenship, by presidential decree. Depardieu announced a month ago he was leaving France for Belgium because of the 75 percent tax rate sought by the French government on higher incomes. The uproar that followed – from both supporters and outraged critics – only confirmed Depardieu’s intention, which he maintained even after a French court struck down the new tax rate.

    • About Pierre

      "Pierre Briançon is Reuters Breakingviews' Paris correspondent. He joined Breakingviews.com in 2006, after heading the Dow Jones Newswires Paris Bureau Chief for three years. Previously, he had been: business editor of Libération, then the newspaper's Moscow and Washington correspondent; deputy editor of L’Expansion; and a producer/columnist for French radio and TV. He is also the author of Messier Story (2002), on the fall of Vivendi’s former chief executive, Héritiers du désastre (1992) on the collapse of the Soviet Union, and San Quentin Jazz Band (2008)."
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