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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.

Dec 24, 2012
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Europe’s two challenges: economy, unity

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By Pierre Briançon

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

The euro crisis will morph into a European crisis in 2013. The survival of the common currency is not in question any longer, but European economies, after two years of crippling and contra-cyclical austerity, are stuck on flat. Furthermore, the question is not so much whether any country will exit the euro but whether the further integration of the zone will lead to the exit or de facto ouster of a non-euro member from the European Union. In 2013, Europe will be weakened by its economy and threatened in its unity.

Nov 23, 2012
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Catalonian independence isn’t worth the pain

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By Pierre Briançon

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

The politicians who are arguing for Catalonia’s independence from Madrid can make a seemingly convincing case that the region would be economically viable as a standalone, sovereign nation. Except that they miss the point. The relative wealth and prosperity Catalonia currently enjoys depends on its links to Spain, the euro zone and the wider European Union. A unilateral breakup would leave Catalonia stranded, and considerably poorer. It would take years before it could become “viable” again.

Nov 20, 2012
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Moody’s downgrade is good news for France

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Pierre Briançon

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

François Hollande has received a little help from an unlikely friend. Moody’s, the ratings agency, has stripped France of its prized AAA status, following rival S&P’s similar move in January. Markets yawned at the long-expected news, with yields on French 10-year bonds up a meagre four basis points. The decision comes with threats of further downgrades, so it puts pressure on France to plough ahead with its reform plans. But the French president should welcome the announcement, which will help him convince his compatriots that more changes are needed, and that time is short.

Oct 8, 2012
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France’s silly stake obsession could kill BAE-EADS

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By Pierre Briançon

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

When EADS and BAE went to the French government with their merger project back in July, they were greeted “as if by a Parisian waiter smoking on the pavement, who makes sure patrons understand they’re not welcomed”, says one investment banker involved in the talks. Not that Paris was opposed to the deal. But it made for an unexpectedly important decision to take at a time when the new socialist government’s energy was focused elsewhere.

    • 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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