Early withdrawal of French troops from Afghanistan in July [Capital.fr]

Translated by Google

The process of withdrawal of French troops in Afghanistan will begin in July and be completed by the end of 2012, Francois Hollande said Saturday, after the death of four soldiers in the east.

Until then, everything must be done for the troops “fulfill their obligations” with “the highest level of security and the utmost vigilance,” said the head of state during a statement to the Prefecture of Tulle, Correze.

Francois Hollande announced that a national tribute to the victims would be made.


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Huge Nannycrat Conflict Coming Right Up; Hollande Lowers Pension Age to 60 [Mish]

From globaleconomicanalysis

The BBC reports France’s Hollande to lower state pension age to 60

 New French president Francois Hollande has unveiled details of a plan to lower the retirement age to 60 for some workers – a key election pledge.

His predecessor, Nicolas Sarkozy, had faced strong opposition when he raised the retirement age by two years to 62.

The move in 2010 sparked weeks of strikes across the country, mainly by public service workers.

The decision comes as the EU warns that France will struggle to meet its fiscal targets without spending cuts.

Jean-Francois Cope, head of the conservative UMP party, said Francois Hollande was “burying his head in the sand”.

Mr Sarkozy’s reforms had been welcomed by financial markets and credit ratings agencies concerned about France’s ability to cut its debt and deficit levels.

The European Commission warned last week that any changes in the French pension system had to be closely monitored.

 Nannycrat Conflict Coming Right Up

The nannycrats in Brussels want to dictate and harmonize everything from tax rates (allegedly Ireland is too low), fiscal policy, immigration policy, work rules, interest rates, retirement age, tariffs, and crop subsidies.

The retirement age in Germany is rising to 67. In France it will be lowered to 60 even though people are living far longer.


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French companies must prepare for the risk of a sharp blow [contrepoints.org]

Translation by Google

According to calculations by Christian Saint Stephen, professor at CNAM, the fiscal shock of Francois Hollande is expected to exceed 14% of the gross operating surplus of French companies, the fiscal shock is most important that they have been subjected since World War II.

By Jean-Jacques Netter.
Article published in collaboration with the Institute of Freedom .

No concrete proposals came out of the G8 summit to boost growth. This seems logical when considering the outline plans that compete in Europe. France has a curious position. Its strategy is to subject companies to tax violent shock. If the program of Francois Hollande is applied in full, they will indeed have to pay € 32.7 billion of tax increases, 13Md € of rising social security contributions, or 45.7 billion € of additional levies. According to calculations by Christian Saint Stephen, professor at CNAM, it could represent more than 14% of their gross operating surplus, or the largest tax impact they have had to endure since World War II.

These provisions demonstrate once again that politicians and media do not seem to realize that the profits of SMEs are not those of CAC 40 companies, which are mainly outside France!   Meanwhile, the tools of the welfare state continues to be demolished by the globalization of solidarity is killed by a dual labor market with those in the system and those who are not (young). The republican elitism is killed by a school in check.Innovation is killed by the egalitarianism of researchers. The middle class is killed by atrophy of the industry …

The setback to the public debt does not appear clearly on track. Yet it should stop the digging of the main inequality which is inequality between generations. It belongs to the generation in power to pay the bills of its excesses, and not to his children and grandchildren. The role of policy is to prepare ourselves, which is not easy in a country where nearly half of voters are civil servants or retired!

Germany, which has been very successful with its SMEs, the famous German Mittelstand particularly successful export, prepares a six-point plan to support growth in the troubled countries of the eurozone. It includes the establishment of free zones in the states affected by the crisis in order to attract foreign investors. Parallel states will have to reform their labor markets to the German model.

Britain has as usual a pragmatic strategy that leaves   the idea   that are small businesses that are likely to create as quickly as possible jobs. That is why it favors SMEs with the implementation of the Small Business Act,which is to encourage entrepreneurs by tax benefits at the launch of their company by investors exemptions from capital gains to a certain amount and counselor with the Small Business Service, which is a single point of administration to help entrepreneurs in their efforts. This measure appears to be effective because we can see now that a flow of British tax exiles are now returning to their country to start businesses and pay taxes with a marginal portion has been lowered!

The fate of Europe and the sustainability of the euro will depend in part on the outcome of the Greek elections of 17 June. Without clear vision, investors are hanging on the soundbites of European leaders.

The worrying situation is no reason to totally sink into pessimism. Ken told the Economist Research Director of the IMF, which was a great success with his book “This time is different. Eight centuries of financial folly, “was a guest of the seminar Cheuvreux in London, we could have good surprises, as globalization inevitably requires all countries to adapt and technology can bring unexpected ruptures that solve problems considered insoluble …

The really good news is perhaps a Financial Times article titled “Death of actions.” The last time it was used as it was in 1979. And the U.S. market had risen almost continuously for 20 years!

Equities: the re-industrialization of America is committed

In Europe, the valuations are attractive horizon to ten years we explained Russell Napier of CLSA. The problem, he says, is for the coming year … For Christopher Potts, Chief Economist of Cheuvreux, Europe is currently in an ambulance, the United States are not for once the heart of anguish markets and fears. As for China, it’s like a bull in a china shop. He thinks that European markets are expected to recover from the third quarter.

In Germany, wages of employees joined the union IG Metall will be increased by 4.3% over the next 13 months.This is positive news for the rest of Europe. It comes as the manufacturing PMI is found at 45 its lowest for 35 months. Jens Weidmann, head of the Bundesbank remains exceptionally devoted to what the austerity of its central bank should continue.

In Greece, the encryption on the cost of an output of Greece’s Euro multiply. They go up to € 450Md David Hauner of BOAML. It is really amazing to see that Europe has not been able to solve the problem of time in Greece, which represented only 2% of European GDP. If Greece out of Euro, no country would imitate still thinkBruno Cavalier, head of economic research at Oddo Securities.

Italy is in a deep recession with GDP projected to decline by 2% in 2012 and 1% in 2013. The only positive factor is the improvement of trade balance. Tito Boeri, an economics professor at Bocconi University in Milan, regrets that the reform of the labor market was not far enough. For him, wage developments should be linked to productivity. He thinks that Mario Monti remain at his post until April 2013.

The United States are beginning to reindustrialise high speed through a fall in labor costs in some states: $ 20 an hour in Louisiana or Alabama against $ 34 in the northern states and 46 to $ 47 in Europe . With the massive use of shale gas cost of energy will decline sharply and reduce their dependency on oil producing countries. We are witnessing a return of American supremacy think Christopher Potts Cheuvreux. What is changing is that more of cheap credit, we will have cheap capital. This means that the outperformance of U.S. stocks will accelerate as it is practically the only country that can offer growth (technology) and security.

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‘Merkel and Hollande will do anything to save euro’ [RT]

Despite their major differences, France’s newly-elected leader, François Hollande, and his German counterpart, Angela Merkel, have shown signs that compromise between the eurozone’s largest economies is possible.

Hollande met with Merkel in Berlin on his first trip as president on Tuesday to discuss proposals for generating economic growth in Europe. He set off immediately after his inauguration but the trip did not go smoothly as his plane was struck by lightning, forcing him to return to Paris to change planes.

As RT’s Peter Oliver reports from the German capital, there were no real political bombshells at the meeting, though the two did not try to cover up their differences.

The socialist Hollande once again stressed his commitment to growth as opposed to the conservative Merkel’s austerity-led approach to tackling Europe’s debt crisis. He said that everything that could promote growth in Europe must be put on the table by everyone.

During his presidential campaign, he also called for the European budget-discipline pact pushed by Merkel to be renegotiated. When asked if he still demands renegotiation, he said he would be able to answer the question “at the end of this work.”

Merkel, who backed then-president Nicolas Sarkozy in the French elections, has argued that growth needs to be generated by structural reform instead of relying on greater government spending.

However, she said that her differences with Hollande have been overplayed. “We are aware of our responsibility, as Germany and France, for good development in Europe,” Merkel said. “Carried by this spirit, I believe we will of course find solutions to the different problems.

Hollande said he wants to work with Germany“for the good of Europe” and that he envisions “a balanced and respectful relationship.”

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European Markets overview post French and Greek elections











Francois Hollande has ten weeks to avert a French bond crisis [Telegraph]

From http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment/ambroseevans_pritchard/9249598/Francois-Hollande-has-ten-weeks-to-avert-a-French-bond-crisis.html

History buffs will remember the events of 1936 when Leon Blum’s Front Populaire came to power with “New Deal” rhetoric and Communist backing. Investors rushed for the exits, forcing the franc off the Gold Standard. The money crossed the Channel.

“Conversations in French became increasingly commonplace in the City of London, as French citizens made arrangements to open sterling bank accounts,” writes Barry Eichengreen in Golden Fetters, my favourite book on the Great Depression.

There are signs that it is happening again, says Louise Cooper from BGC Partners. If Italians were the biggest foreign buyers of top properties in London last year, the French are catching up this year in the £3m to £5m range.

“London property is like German Bunds – somewhere safe to park cash,” she said. Is it capital flight? Hard to tell.

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Au Revoir Sarkozy: Hollande wins French presidency

Francois Hollande has ousted Nicolas Sarkozy from the French presidency – to become the country’s first Socialist president in 17 years. It was a close call – winning 51 per cent of votes to his rival’s 49. Our correspondent Tesa Arcilla has been witnessing the wild celebrations at Socialist Party headquarters in Paris.




Vis-à-vis a la Français: France chooses president [RT]

A French voter walks past posters of Socialist candidate Francois Hollande (L) and French presidential candidate incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy (AFP Photo / Laurent Fievet)

Today French voters are choosing a new president in the runoff vote. The defending President Nicolas Sarkozy has already claimed the election is on a knife’s edge, as he closed in on rival Francois Hollande in the final polls.

The most recent polling has revealed that Sarkozy lags behind with 47 per cent of expected votes. Socialist Francois Hollande boasts 52.5 per cent of promised votes.

Anyway, president in office Nicolas Sarkozy has managed to narrow the gap which was initially 10 per cent.

The first round of presidential elections on April 22 brought Nicolas Sarkozy 28.08 per cent of votes whereas his rival Francois Hollande was slightly ahead with 28.63 per cent.

Still, the intrigue remains . The far-right candidate and leader of the National Front Marine le Pen, who gained 17.9 per cent of votes in the first round, refused to endorse either candidate. She called on her supporters to vote for no one and cast empty vote papers. So nothing is certain until the ballots are cast.

Incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy has come under fire from fierce critics of his economic policies and high unemployment rate. During his presidential campaign he has promised a deficit-free budget by 2016 and possible introduction of protectionist measures in the French economy. He also played in the right field, promising to toughen migration regulations.

His opponent, socialist Francois Hollande, has spoken against cuts in public expenditure. His presidential economic program includes a tax boost on wealthy citizens and big companies, and also increased financing of the public sector.

If Hollande wins, he will become the first Socialist president of France in 17 years.

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Errors, untruths and controversial debate

Translated By Google

The debate between the two finalists of the presidential election, Wednesday, May 2, was very tense, and often fired at the battle of facts and figures, the two protagonists dealing with each other “liar”, and s’ accusing him of giving false figures. We attempted to verify some of these quarrels.

 Quarrel of the unemployment figures: both are true

Holland and Sarkozy are true both

First big quarrel of the evening, the magnitude of the rise in unemployment during the quinquennium. For Francois Hollande, the figure is round: “Unemployment has risen, if we take all registrants, a million, that is to say that 4 million people are registered, even if they don ‘ have, each, no activity. If we take people who have no activity, there are 3 million unemployed in our country, this is an increase of 700,000. That’s a lot, it is huge, c is a record. “

Nicolas Sarkozy’s response: “Please allow me to revisit the numbers you gave, Mr. Holland, they are false, and I give you proof (…). Unemployment increased by 422,000, which is too, between 2007 and 2011, figure ILO [International Labour Office]is to say an increase of 18.7%, the same figures as ILO figures can be compared with all other countries. On the same period, with the same standard ILO unemployment increased by 18.7% in France, over the same period, it increased by 37% in Italy, 60% in England, 191% in Spain, after seven years of socialism, 103% in the U.S., and the average for the euro area, the average unemployment increased by 39.6%, that is to say exactly twice. “

Who is right who is wrong? In fact, neither. For, and the situation was similar in March during the debate between MM. Sarkozy and Fabius, they take two different encryptions. Francois Hollande is the unemployment figures from the Dares and employment center. And as he stated, if we take the four categories A, B, C, that is to say, if we include the unemployed with reduced activity during the month, going from 3.1 to 4.3 million unemployed.

However, the figure of Mr. Sarkozy comes to him, the INSEE, established according to the ILO definition, which makes international comparisons. And this time, going from 2.256 million unemployed in 2007 to 2,678,000 in 2011. 400 000 or more.


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Sarkozy fails to floor Hollande in French vote duel [Reuters]

By Catherine Bremer and Daniel Flynn

PARIS, May 3 (Reuters) – French President Nicolas Sarkozy made a last-ditch appeal to far-right voters on Thursday after failing to land a knockout blow in a heated televised debate with Socialist rival Francois Hollande before Sunday’s decisive runoff.

Hollande, ahead in opinion polls by six to 10 points, was calm and unflappable during the nearly three-hour debate on Wednesday while the conservative Sarkozy, struggling to catch up with the moderate social democrat, was often agitated and tense.

Commentators said the confrontation, watched by 17.8 million people out of an electorate of 44.5 million, was no game-changer and probably only reinforced voters’ opinions in a contest that has been as much about style and personality as substance.

“It was a draw but as Mr Hollande started as favourite, he remains the favourite,” wrote Francoise Fressoz in an editorial in Le Monde. “Mr Sarkozy did not manage to destabilise him, which was his objective from the start.”

Returning to the airwaves on Thursday in a bid to convince waverers before campaigning ends at midnight on Friday, Sarkozy appealed to the nearly one-fifth of voters who cast their ballot for the National Front in the April 22 first round.

“The opinion polls are lying. An election has never been this open … It’s even more open after the debate,” Sarkozy told RTL radio.

“I want to speak directly to National Front voters. Who would benefit if you cast a blank vote? It would benefit Hollande, the regularisation of (illegal) immigrants, crazy overspending.”

Television commentators said Sarkozy had performed “like a boxer” in Wednesday’s debate and Hollande “like a judo fighter”, using flashes of wit and interjections to unbalance his rival.

“Hollande presides over the debate,” left-wing Liberation wrote on its front page, while the right-leaning Le Figaro, with a headline “High Tension”, emphasised the bitterness of the exchanges. It noted that every euro zone leader to seek re-election since 2008 had lost, but said divisions in the French left and Hollande’s outdated policies gave Sarkozy a chance.

Hollande, 57, was confident and relaxed in the early exchanges of Wednesday’s contest, saying he aimed to be “the president of justice” and “the president of unity”.

He said Sarkozy, also 57 and in office since 2007, had divided the French people and was using the global economic crisis as an excuse for broken promises. “With you it’s very simple: it’s never your fault,” Hollande said.

Sarkozy, fighting for his political life, repeatedly accused his opponent of lying about economic figures and reeled off reams of statistics in an attempt to swamp his adversary.

Deriding Hollande’s pledge to be a “normal president”, the president said: “Your normality is not up to the challenge.”


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The First French Official Results Are In [Zeroedge]

8 pm has just passed in France, and all the polls are now closed, which means official preliminary data is now allowed – the first results from IPSOS are in, and are as follows:

  • Francois Hollande: 28.4% (28.8% latest) – with victory virtually assured in the runoff round on May 6, it is now Hollande’s election to lose. Could he? Yes – read here how Sarkozy can still catch up per DB.
  • Nicholas Sarkozy: 25.5% (26.1% latest) – make the runoff round
  • Marine Le Pen: 20.0% (18.5% latest) – extreme right: much better than expected as nationalism is back with a bang.
  • Jean-Luc Melenchon: 11.7% – extreme left: best communist showing since 1981 yet weaker than expected.
  • Francois Bayrou: 8.5%
  • Eva Joly: 2.0%
  • the others are irrelevant.

Big win for Hollande but even more stunning victory for extreme right winger Le Pen, which only proves that nationalism is back in Europe with a vengeance.


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The French Election and the Eurocrisis

Gérard Duménil: Most voters want to save social programs and reject austerity

Link to video

France at Risk [FinancialSense]


The French economy, the second largest in the Eurozone and considered to be a critical part of the “core,” is increasingly seen as “struggling.”  Fundamental structural deficiencies that are continuing to gnaw at France’s ability to compete internationally are now being emphasized in a presidential election campaign in which both leading candidates are making election promises that, if fulfilled, would surely make it even more difficult to tackle France’s economic problems. And this is occurring at a time when the Eurozone’s sovereign debt crisis is far from being resolved and much of Europe is in recession. Industrial production declined in February, the third month of declines.

On the positive side, France has more firms in the global Fortune 500 than any other European country. But French companies are struggling to compete with labor costs 10% higher than those for German firms and social charges double those that German firms face. A European Commission survey suggests that French firms also have an innovation deficiency. It perhaps is not surprising that France’s unemployment rate is 10%, compared to 5.8% in Germany.

France is no Greece with respect to public finances, but its finances are going in the wrong direction. Its public debt is 90% of GDP and increasing at a time when the rest of Europe is recognizing the need to take tough austerity measures. In a thoughtful editorial entitled “A Country in Denial,” in the March 31st issue of The Economist, decades of French policies are summed up as follows: “For years France has offered its people a Swedish-style social model of services, benefits, and protection, but has failed to create enough wealth to pay for it.”

Having spent 27 years in France while working at the OECD in Paris, a beautiful city and country, it is with regret that I must agree with The Economist’s views on some of the reasons France has fallen behind in the creation of wealth. Too many of the French reject the free-market system and capitalism. A poll by the polling firm GlobeScan indicates that only 31% of the French agree that the free-market system is the best. Business- and market-friendly reforms face a very strong political headwind in such an environment. The French have never come to terms with the globalization of the world economy, and their attempts to resist globalization have failed.

The leading two candidates in the Presidential campaign, the Gaullist President Nicolas Sarkozy, and the Socialist contender, Francois Hollande, have contributed little to address France’s dire economic problems in their campaign speeches. Indeed, most of their statements have only served to raise investor concerns, including ours, about France’s future. This is especially the case for the Socialist Hollande, whom polls suggest is in the lead. He is calling for an increase in the size of the state (public spending is already equal to 55.8% of GDP), a roll-back of part of Sarkozy’s pension reform, and for taxing the rich at a 75% top tax rate, which would rise to over 90% when social charges are included. He also wants to increase the wealth tax and taxes on dividends.

Most worrisome with respect to Sarkozy is his calling for the adoption of protectionist policies. His plan for addressing the public finance crisis would increase the burden of taxes to 45.8% of GDP by 2016 from 44.6% today. On the positive side, in his economic program unveiled last week he aims to reduce public spending as a proportion of GDP to 51.9% by 2016. He also says he will seek to reduce high social charges and liberalize the French labor market.

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Analysis: Sarkozy, Hollande snipe at EU to woo voters [Reuters]

By Paul Taylor

PARIS | Mon Mar 19, 2012 2:53am EDT

(Reuters) – To a visitor from Mars, France’s presidential election must seem a bizarre contest between candidates waging largely artificial battles with Europe before an electorate of economic illiterates.

President Nicolas Sarkozy boasts of having saved the euro and turned the corner in the currency area’s sovereign debt crisis (with a little help from German Chancellor Angela Merkel) despite losing France’s top-grade credit rating.

Sarkozy won plaudits for his activist handling of France’s European Union presidency in 2008 when he led the EU’s response to the global financial crisis and mediated an end to a brief war between Russia and Georgia.

But the conservative leader has just whipped up two conflicts with “Brussels”, over border controls and trade, in an apparent bid to claw back voters from far-right anti-immigration candidate Marine Le Pen, who advocates leaving the euro.

In what would be breaches of European treaties, Sarkozy threatened last week to pull France out of the Schengen zone of passport-free travel in Europe and to erect unilateral trade barriers unless he gets his way on stricter controls on migrants and on unfair competition in public procurement.

In reality, negotiations to reform the Schengen system are already well advanced, and the European Commission is working on proposals to force greater reciprocity in access to public tenders. So Sarkozy can reap the electoral benefits of sounding tough without much risk of having to carry out his threats.

His main challenger, Socialist Francois Hollande, has vowed not to ratify a treaty on tougher budget discipline signed by 25 European states unless Germany and other partners agree to add measures to promote growth and jobs.

“It’s a strange campaign when some want to renegotiate a treaty that has already been signed while others want to leave treaties that are already in force,” said a senior European Union official, shrugging off the French electioneering.


While Sarkozy demands a U.S.-style ‘Buy European’ Act, the Socialist program calls for a form of European protectionism, with extra tariffs on imports from countries that do not meet EU safety, labor and environmental standards.

Advisers to both camps say the candidates have sharpened their tone to appeal to the majority of voters who rejected the EU’s constitutional treaty in a 2005 referendum. Many of those electors are now leaning towards Le Pen or hard-left firebrand Jean-Luc Melenchon.

France’s attitude to Europe is riddled with paradoxes. The French see themselves as founders and leaders of the European project, yet many dislike the free trade, unfettered competition and open borders the EU enshrines.


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