Pierre's Feed
May 7, 2012
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Hollande won’t have much time to learn on the job

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

The French have chosen a socialist president without any experience of executive power and little taste or knowledge of international matters. When one considers where the certified “experienced” leaders have led Europe in the last three years, this shouldn’t be much of a worry. But if newly-elected François Hollande thinks he can plan for a few months of learning on the job, the situation in Greece is a pressing reminder that he should cut the training period short. 

May 4, 2012
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French banks hope to end balance-sheet shrinking

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By Pierre Briançon

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

BNP Paribas and Société Générale are nearing the end of their crash diets. At least, that’s what the French top banking duo hope after a first quarter in which they shrank their balance sheets following last year’s euro zone-induced funding squeeze.

Apr 26, 2012
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Draghi’s growth babble is no retreat on austerity

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By Pierre Briançon

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

Is it still possible to mention the word “growth” without becoming a hostage in the French presidential campaign? Mario Draghi, the European Central Bank president, has been hijacked by the French socialist party because he has called for a euro zone “growth compact”. Presidential candidate François Hollande sees it as a sign that his ideas are gaining ground. But Draghi’s statement to the European parliament wasn’t a seismic shift. More important, what he means by growth compact has nothing to do with what Hollande plans to do if elected.

Apr 19, 2012
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IMF’s euro gloom points to right fiscal path

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By Pierre Briançon

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

Euro zone members won’t meet their fiscal targets, but that doesn’t mean they should all force themselves to be even more austere. This is the message that the International Monetary Fund is sending to Europe’s troubled economies. Both disciplinarian central bankers and populist politicians should take note. Austerity remains a must. But too much, too fast will be lethal.

Apr 5, 2012
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Rothschild Anglo-French union secures family grip

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By Pierre Briançon

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

Keep the mystique of the Rothschild name while managing it like a luxury brand: this seems to be the goal of the investment bank’s decision to fold its French and British arms into a single, listed entity.

Mar 23, 2012
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Review: Putting a face on the Kremlin’s autocrat

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

Twelve years after Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin first became president of Russia, we know as little about him as when Boris Yeltsin pulled him from bureaucratic anonymity to make him his last prime minister and successor. And Russians themselves still don’t know: witness both the bizarre popular support he enjoys in parts of the country, and the contemptuous hostility in which he is held by the swelling ranks of his opponents. Is he a Soviet throwback or a Russian moderniser? A statesman or a crook? A closet reformist or a ruthless despot?

Mar 21, 2012
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Vatican bank struggles to be cleansed of past sins

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By Pierre Briançon

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

The failure of the Vatican bank to comply with the basic rule of the Sacrament of Penance is odd. The Holy See’s financial arm has been seeking absolution for past sins for two years, but remains reluctant to confess to what it did wrong. Of all institutions, it should understand that one cannot go without the other.

Mar 16, 2012
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Euro left is powerless against austerity zealots

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By Pierre Briançon

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

There may be some residual skirmishes, but the rear-guard resistance against the euro zone “fiscal compact” doesn’t stand much of a chance.

Mar 14, 2012
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RUSAL oligarch row isn’t about governance

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By Pierre Briançon

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

Viktor Vekselberg is shocked – positively shocked – that the company he has chaired since its inception could find itself in such a “deep crisis”. So he says he is quitting his chairmanship of UC RUSAL, while the Russian aluminium giant’s controlling shareholder, Oleg Deripaska, says he would have fired his former ally anyway. Of course the row has little to do with corporate governance.

Mar 5, 2012
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Deficit target fetishism could deepen EU recession

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By Pierre Briançon

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

The euro zone is turning into a cult whose members think the best way to survive is to chant hymns to austerity to the rhythm of a German tambourine. Having just agreed on the terms of a “fiscal compact” to reinforce budgetary discipline and avoid another life-or-death experiment, some member governments seem to be eager to implement it without waiting. Spain looks set to become the first victim of deficit target fetishism. Other countries could follow. But insisting on corrective measures and even more austerity just to meet targets will cripple the economy, which in turn will make the targets impossible to meet.

    • 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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