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Is France falling behind?

Lacking competitiveness, a stalling economy, high unemployment: many commentators see France as one of Europe's biggest problem children and stress the need for structural reforms.

Die Presse - Austria | Tuesday, 23. September 2014

Germany has no business criticising France

Several politicians of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party used the occasion of French Prime Minister Manuel Valls' visit to Berlin on Monday to voice harsh criticism of France's domestic policy. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, however, did not join in. And for good reason, the liberal-conservative daily Die Presse argues: » more

La Stampa - Italy | Friday, 25. July 2014

For Cesare Marinette Paris must be active in Europe again

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble backed his French counterpart Michel Sapin at a meeting last week. He voiced his faith in the latter's budgetary policies despite the slow progress in reducing France's new debt. But where is the France that once played an active role in Europe, the deputy director of the liberal daily La Stampa, Cesare Marinetti asks: » more

MediaPart - France | Thursday, 6. March 2014

New government won't help France

Rumours of an upcoming cabinet shuffle in France have been doing the rounds in recent weeks. The Socialist Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault declared on Thursday that a government with fewer ministers would be more efficient. Nothing but empty speculation, the left-liberal website Mediapart comments: » more

Il Sole 24 Ore - Italy | Wednesday, 4. December 2013

Europe's wellbeing depends on Paris and Rome

In an interview with the daily La Repubblica, EU Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn has once again criticised Italy for lagging behind on debt reduction. He seems to have overlooked the problem of France, the business paper Il Sole 24 Ore fumes: » more

Main focus of Thursday, 26. September 2013

Record public debt in France

Despite plans for cuts running into the billions, France is heading for record debt levels. The Socialist government of President François Hollande on Wednesday discussed ... » more

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung - Germany | Thursday, 26. September 2013

Spending cuts instead of tax hikes

Instead of raising taxes France should put the brakes on spending, writes the conservative daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, pointing out that the "tax orgies of ... » more

Neue Zürcher Zeitung - Switzerland | Thursday, 26. September 2013

The French time bomb is ticking

Hollande's draft budget foresees a drop in France's budget deficit in the coming year to 3.6 percent of GDP, compared to an estimated 4.1 percent in 2013. Not low enough, the liberal-conservative daily Neue Zürcher Zeitung criticises: » more

Libération - France | Thursday, 26. September 2013

The ball is in the employers' court

France's new budget plan foresees tax hikes for private households, while taxes on companies will decrease slightly. The latter should therefore now be willing to carry part of the burden, the left-liberal daily Libération contends: » more

Les Echos - France | Tuesday, 24. September 2013

Don't stop Paris consumption before midnight

Following a trade unions' initiative an appeal court in Paris ruled on Monday that the beauty products chain Sephora must close the doors of its store on Paris's Champs Elysées at 9 p.m. rather than keeping it open at night. But consumer demand dictates that stores should stay open until midnight, the liberal business paper Les Echos contends: » more

L'Opinion - France | Thursday, 12. September 2013

Outdated neo-Colbertism in France

French economic policy under French President François Holland is in a bad way, the liberal-conservative daily L'Opinion writes, laying some of the blame on the Minister of Industrial Renewal Arnaud Montebourg as a proponent of a new form of Colbertism. This form of mercantilism originated with Jean-Baptiste Colbert, finance minister under Louis XIV: » more

Le Figaro - France | Wednesday, 28. August 2013

France's pension reform no great shakes

The French government presented its plan for a pension reform on Tuesday, which foresees raising the contribution period for a full pension to 43 years by 2035. Furthermore the so-called old-age contribution paid by workers and employers will increase slightly until 2017. The conservative daily Le Figaro doesn't believe such measures can save the system: » more

Le Figaro - France | Monday, 26. August 2013

Ayrault has lost his grip on reality

At a conference of the French Socialist Party in La Rochelle on the weekend, Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault rejected criticism that his government is responsible for the heavy burden on French taxpayers. The conservative daily Le Figaro criticises his policy: » more

Le Monde - France | Friday, 10. May 2013

Hollande copying Sarkozy's failures

French President François Hollande announced last week that he would soon reshuffle his cabinet and present an investment plan for the coming ten years. Like his predecessor, Hollande is upping the pressure on his governing team, Françoise Fressoz writes in her blog for the left-liberal daily Le Monde: » more

Ouest France - France | Tuesday, 9. April 2013

Morals alone won't save Hollande

French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault announced on Monday that in reaction to the fraud scandal triggered by ex-budget minister Jérôme Cahuzac, the financial circumstances of all members of government will be made public. This won't be enough to get the country out of its present crisis, the regional newspaper Ouest-France points out: » more

Les Echos - France | Friday, 5. April 2013

Confidence at stake in France

The tax fraud affair involving former budget minister Jérôme Cahuzac could bring France's entire development to a halt, the liberal daily Les Echos fears: » more

Le Figaro - France | Tuesday, 2. April 2013

France needs new business climate

Ever since the French Minister of Industrial Renewal Arnaud Montebourg promoted products "made in France" in a blue and white striped sailor shirt at the end of 2012, there has been a lively debate over how France can remain attractive as an economic location. Cécile Philippe, president of the liberal think tank Institut économic Molinari, accuses the government of incompetence in the conservative daily Le Figaro: » more

Le Figaro - France | Wednesday, 27. March 2013

France must revolutionise its job market

France's unemployment level has risen to almost 3.2 million, just shy of the absolute record reached in 1997, it was announced on Tuesday. The country needs a radical shake-up, the conservative daily Le Figaro writes: » more

Les Echos - France | Tuesday, 12. March 2013

German overachievers must become more French

The economic situation in Europe's crisis countries is hardly improving, while Germany's economy is performing better than it has done in years. The liberal business paper Les Echos suggests tongue in cheek that Germany should become more like France, so as to narrow the gap between the two countries: » more

Le Figaro - France | Wednesday, 6. March 2013

Renault enables turnaround in auto industry

The French unions CFE-CGC and FO Renault agreed on Wednesday on a plan for restructuring the Renault Group. The conservative daily Le Figaro sees hope for the French car industry: » more

Ouest France - France | Monday, 4. March 2013

France missed the boat on structural reform

Unemployment has risen steadily in France over the last two years, and currently stands at 10.5 percent. For the regional paper Ouest France, the problem is the lacking willingness to reform: » more

Dziennik Gazeta Prawna - Poland | Monday, 25. February 2013

France subsidising its economy to death

Several large French companies are currently deeply in the red. Carmaker PSA Peugeot Citroën suffered losses of five billion euros in 2012, while food producer Danone has announced it will cut 900 jobs. The subsidy policy of the French government is to blame, the conservative daily Dziennik Gazeta Prawna writes: » more

Les Echos - France | Thursday, 21. February 2013

France needs no lessons from the US

A letter by Maurice Taylor, CEO of the US tire producer Titan, to the French government has sparked a wave of outrage in France. In it Taylor is highly critical of the "so called workers" in the French Goodyear plant whose jobs Paris had asked him to help save. The liberal business paper Les Echos, which published the letter, is not amused by Taylor's comments: » more

Les Dernières Nouvelles d'Alsace - France | Wednesday, 20. February 2013

France as keen on reforms as Greece

French President François Hollande visited Greece on Tuesday. But unlike the visit by German Chancellor Angela Merkel last year, the event failed to attract much attention from the Greek public. That's above all because all he could bring was pretty words, the regional daily Les Dernières Nouvelles d'Alsace comments: » more

Corriere della Sera - Italy | Thursday, 14. February 2013

EU waters down Stability Pact

French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault announced on Wednesday that the country's new indebtedness will exceed three percent of the GDP, the budget deficit limit stipulated in the Stability Pact. In a letter to the Ecofin Council, EU Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn indirectly backs France's position, the liberal-conservative daily Corriere della Sera writes: » more

Tages-Anzeiger - Switzerland | Wednesday, 13. February 2013

A stage victory for Hollande

The French National Assembly's approval for same-sex marriage and adoption rights for gays is a landmark victory for the Hollande government even if the next major challenges are just around the corner, the daily Tages-Anzeiger writes: » more

Le Figaro - France | Monday, 11. February 2013

Hollande must admit his electoral lies

French unions are demanding that President François Hollande fulfil his electoral promises and prevent announced factory closures. But it would be better to admit that they were lies and adopt a realistic approach instead, the conservative daily Le Figaro demands: » more

Le Monde - France | Monday, 21. January 2013

Philippe Askenazy calls for an end to France bashing

Both at home and abroad the French economy has repeatedly been the subject of negative headlines, most recently with the closure of the Goodyear plant in Amiens. But in fact France is performing quite well, writes economist Philippe Askenazy, research director at the National Centre for Scientific Research, in the left-liberal daily Le Monde: » more

Le Figaro - France | Wednesday, 6. February 2013

Stronger euro not only obstacle to growth

After François Hollande, France's Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici has stirred up debate over an active exchange rate policy, warning on Wednesday that a strong euro would hinder France's economic growth in the long term. But France should blame itself and not the common currency for its slow growth, the conservative daily Le Figaro writes: » more

Le Figaro - France | Friday, 1. February 2013

Unions will be the death of industry

The US tire producer Goodyear has announced that it will close its plant and axe roughly 1,200 jobs in the northern French city of Amiens. The location has been in danger of a shut-down for the last five years. The conservative daily Le Figaro accuses the unions of sealing the fate of the plant with their unbending attitude: » more

Savon Sanomat - Finland | Wednesday, 23. January 2013

Paris and Berlin must get their act together

The MPs of the German and French parliaments came together for a joint session in the German Bundestag on Tuesday to mark the 50th anniversary of the Elysée Treaty. But the celebrations couldn't conceal the differences between France and Germany, the liberal daily Savon Sanomat notes, and hopes that for Europe's sake the two countries will work more as a team in future: » more

Gazeta Wyborcza - Poland | Monday, 7. January 2013

Michal Valentik sees France losing its economic power

France raised almost eight billion euros of fresh capital on Thursday at record low interest rates. But in the long term Europe's second-largest economy is sinking deeper and deeper into crisis because its economy is largely controlled by the state, Michal Valentik, an analyst at the international investment company Generali PPF Invest warns in a commentary for the liberal daily Gazeta Wyborcza: » more

Le Figaro - France | Friday, 4. January 2013

France's wealth tax a fiasco

President Putin has granted Gérard Depardieu Russian citizenship by decree, because the French actor doesn't want to pay the wealth tax in France. The conservative daily Le Figaro is concerned: » more

Le Quotidien - Luxembourg | Wednesday, 19. December 2012

Only EU can stop deindustrialisation

As commendable as French President François Hollande's efforts to save the Arcelor Mittal steelworks in Florange in the Lorraine region are, France can only reverse its deindustrialisation in conjunction with its European partners, the left-liberal daily Le Quotidien contends: » more

L'Est Républicain - France | Wednesday, 12. December 2012

France has bigger problems than Depardieu

Like many wealthy French citizens before him, the actor Gérard Depardieu has decided to flee the rich tax by moving to Belgium. It was announced on Friday that he had purchased a house in the town of Néchin. France should focus on saving its entrepreneurial spirit rather than making a big fuss about prominent tax dodgers, the conservative daily L'Est Républicain writes: » more

Le Figaro - France | Wednesday, 5. December 2012

Contradictory agreement with Arcelor Mittal

The French government reached an agreement on Friday with the steel company Arcelor Mittal on an investment plan aimed at maintaining roughly 600 jobs at the blast furnaces at its plant in the town of Florange in Lorraine. The conservative daily Le Figaro criticises the contradictory attitude of the government under Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault: » more

Le Figaro - France | Tuesday, 27. November 2012

France will grow poorer without the rich

Since France introduced a top tax rate of 75 percent at the end of October a growing number of wealthy French citizens are leaving the country. France needs its economic elite, the conservative daily Le Figaro warns: » more

La Stampa - Italy | Wednesday, 21. November 2012

France spared by the markets

The financial markets barely reacted on Tuesday to France's downgrading by rating agency Moody's. France is not Italy, after all, the liberal daily La Stampa points out: » more

Il Sole 24 Ore - Italy | Tuesday, 20. November 2012

Hollande is on the right path

France's downgrading is a major setback for François Hollande, who however has at least tried to introduce reforms, albeit cautiously, the liberal-conservative Il Sole 24 Ore points out: » more

NRC Handelsblad - Netherlands | Tuesday, 20. November 2012

French closing their eyes to problems

Rating agency Moody's explained on Monday that France had lost competitiveness owing among other things to its inflexible labour market and lacking investment in innovation. Finance Minister Pierre Muscovici stressed that the downgrading by Moody's does not put his country's fundamental economic data in question. France is closing its eyes to bitter reality, the liberal daily NRC Handelsblad notes: » more

Le Monde - France | Tuesday, 20. November 2012

Downgrade Sarkozy's fault

Former president Nicolas Sarkozy is to blame for the downgrading of France by the rating agency Moody's, financial advisor Georges Ugeux writes in his blog Démystifier la finance for the left-liberal daily Le Monde: » more

i - Portugal | Friday, 16. November 2012

No one can escape the recession now

Soon France and Germany, too, will find themselves in the dark valley of recession, and then it won't be long before all Europe falls apart, the liberal daily i predicts: » more

The Economist - United Kingdom | Thursday, 15. November 2012

France's procrastinating is dangerous

Although France's economy unexpectedly grew by 0.2 percent in the last quarter, the liberal business magazine The Economist expresses concern about the country, where President François Hollande is refusing to engage in a debate over Europe: » more

Le Figaro - France | Wednesday, 14. November 2012

Hollande must end his zigzag course

France's President François Hollande has sunk faster in the polls than any president before him. In a speech on Tuesday, six months after he took office, he addressed the serious situation in the country, promising measures to counter unemployment and stimulate growth. For the conservative daily Le Figaro Hollande is not going far enough: » more

Les Echos - France | Monday, 12. November 2012

Germany's worries over France warranted

According to Reuters news agency, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble has proposed that the German Council of Economic Experts, or "Wise Men", look into reform proposals for France. Germany has good cause to worry about the French economy, the liberal business paper Les Echos writes: » more

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung - Germany | Wednesday, 7. November 2012

Hollande's tax relief too timid

France's Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault announced tax relief for businesses to the tune of 20 billion on Tuesday, in a bid to revive the economy. The conservative daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung finds the measure inadequate, and decries the lack of a clearly defined taxation policy: » more

Público - Portugal | Wednesday, 7. November 2012

Hollande boldly turns his back on austerity

French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault on Tuesday announced that businesses would receive around 20 billion euros in tax credits. The liberal daily Público is impressed to see the second-largest economy in Europe giving up its austerity drive, which according to the newspaper has all Europe trapped in a vicious circle of recession: » more

Les Echos - France | Tuesday, 6. November 2012

Sarkozy's VAT reduction irreversible

Nicolas Sarkozy's lowering of VAT for restaurants has led neither to price cuts nor to more jobs in the sector, member of the National Assembly Thomas Thévenoud concludes in a report he presented last week. Unfortunately such tax relief measures are irreversible, writes the business paper Les Echos: » more

Corriere del Ticino - Switzerland | Tuesday, 6. November 2012

France could be Europe's undoing

Louis Gallois, former head of the aerospace and defence corporation EADS, on Monday presented a report on France's competitiveness in which he calls for the country to be given shock therapy to prevent it from lapsing into an enduring crisis. If François Hollande deviates from the austerity course all Europe will suffer, the liberal daily Corriere del Ticino warns: » more

L'Est Républicain - France | Monday, 5. November 2012

France's opaque competition policy

Louis Gallois, the former head of the European aerospace and defence company EADS, will present his report on France's competitiveness today. Among other things the report is expected to deal with lowering anciliary labour costs and making the labour market more flexible. But it will have little impact, writes the regional paper L'Est Républicain: » more

Libération - France | Tuesday, 30. October 2012

Doubts about Hollande's economic competence

In the wake of protests the French government has revised its draft law on the 2013 budget after just one week, significantly reducing the planned tax hike for small enterprises. The government is losing all its credibility, economist Romain Rancière writes in the left-liberal daily Libération: » more

Libération - France | Friday, 26. October 2012

Adapt French welfare state to the times

In a bid to raise France's competitiveness, President François Hollande has announced a reform of business taxation. But amidst all the squabbling one must not lose sight of the true goal, the left-liberal daily Libération warns: » more

Le Canard Enchainé - France | Wednesday, 24. October 2012

Hollande could use tips from Lance Armstrong

In view of the superhuman hurdles he faces, France's President François Hollande could use a few good tips from Lance Armstrong, the satirical weekly paper Le canard enchaîné gibes, remembering that the cycling star who has now lost his titles over doping charges once gave a bicycle to Hollande's predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy: » more

Le Monde - France | Tuesday, 16. October 2012

Alberto Saravalle calls for streamlined state in Italy and France

An end to the debt crisis is not in sight and Italy and France both need strict reform programmes, Italian jurist Alberto Saravalle writes in the left-liberal daily Le Monde: » more

Les Echos - France | Thursday, 4. October 2012

France killing entrepreneurial spirit

In addition to other tax hikes, the French government is also planning to double the capital gains tax in 2013. The move will weaken not only entrepreneurs but also the state budget, the liberal business paper Les Echos warns: » more

Corriere della Sera - Italy | Monday, 1. October 2012

Hollande is just a penny pincher

François Hollande doesn't want to reform France, he just wants to pinch pennies, the liberal-conservative daily Corriere della Sera writes with an eye to the draft budget for 2013 Hollande presented on Friday: » more

Le Figaro - France | Tuesday, 25. September 2012

Honey, I shrunk La Grande Nation

Hollande has been in power for less than half a year, but his policies have already caused France to lose in grandeur, the conservative daily Le Figaro writes disparagingly: » more

Les Echos - France | Tuesday, 11. September 2012

Hollande trying to emulate Gerhard Schröder

The reform agenda presented by French President François Hollande on Sunday bears the name "Agenda 2014" in allusion to former German chancellor Gerhard Schröder's "Agenda 2010". But apart from the name the two programmes have nothing in common, the business paper Les Echos writes: » more

Hospodárske noviny - Slovakia | Monday, 10. September 2012

Rich tax will backfire

A tax for the wealthy, as proposed by French President François Hollande, wouldn't help the French treasury at all, the business paper Hospodářské noviny argues: » more

Ouest France - France | Thursday, 6. September 2012

The party's over in France

In view of France's record public debt of 90 percent of the GDP, the French government must stop telling its citizens rosy times are ahead, the liberal daily Ouest-France demands: » more

Les Echos - France | Friday, 31. August 2012

Transaction tax harms France's companies

France for the first time introduced a new 0.2 percent tax on financial transactions on August 1. The liberal business paper Les Echos feels the tax will damage the economy in the long term: » more

Les Echos - France | Wednesday, 29. August 2012

Hollande's petrol price reduction a farce

The French government and the oil industry agreed on Friday to lower the price of petrol by up to six cents for a preliminary three-month period. The decision is a farce, writes the liberal business paper Les Echos: » more

Libération - France | Wednesday, 22. August 2012

Shale gas not an option for France

Apart from Bulgaria, France is the sole European country that has declined to produce unconventional forms of natural gas. The government should hold its course and continue to say no to shale gas production, urges political advisor Nicolas Thierry in the left-lieral daily Libération: » more

Le Figaro - France | Monday, 20. August 2012

France must do more to help entrepreneurs

Patrick Ricard, whose father first commercialised the famous aperitif Pastis in 1932, died on Friday of a heart attack aged 67. Ricard turned the family business into the globally successful firm Pernod Ricard by buying out other producers of spirits. On the occasion of his death the conservative daily Le Figaro calls on the government to do more to support the entrepreneurial spirit: » more


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