Hollandes government this year enacted more-modest labor reforms, but that hasnt stemmed job losses that have pushed unemployment to 11 percent, a 14-year high. Automaker Peugeot ( UG:FP ) has been hiring in Spain while shuttering factories at home in France. Hollandes latest plan is to create a new generation of industrial champions producing robotics, 3D software, and other high-tech gear. Some 3.7 billion is to be pumped into these efforts, through state-controlled investment vehicles. Its not about nostalgia or going back to the 1960s, Hollande said. Its about a state that can accompany and stimulate business. France has tried this strategy alreadyand it flopped. In 2010, then-President Nicolas Sarkozy announced a massive state-directed investment in industry, including billions for R&D and new technologies. More than 5 billion has already been invested, yet the job market and the performance of France Inc. keep getting worse. Corporate profit margins last year were the lowest since 1985. As recently as the mid-2000s, when Germanys labor costs were higher than Frances, and Spains were rising an average 4 percent annually, the kind of sweeteners Hollande is offering might have been enough to lure investment and jobs to France. No more. In a Bloomberg survey of investors released on Sept.
Big moments define France’s 10-year tenure
Publicly, France hailed Saturdays deal in Geneva to eliminate Assads deadly chemical arsenal by mid-2014. But privately there is disquiet in Paris about an accord that some fear could bestow renewed legitimacy on Assad, consolidate his grip on power and stall moves to bolster the opposition coalition that France has championed. Diplomats say that was reflected in the double-edged statement issued by Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius in response to the Geneva deal. While praising it as a significant step forward”, Fabius also emphasised that the next steps should be shaped by the contents of a report, due to be published Monday, by UN inspectors probing the August 21 chemical weapons attack outside Damascus. Frances Socialist government unequivocally backed punitive military action in response to what they regard as a watershed moment in Syrias civil war, and Fabius has indicated that he expects the UN report to point a finger of blame in the direction of the regime. What we are saying is that the Geneva accord does not settle all accounts, said a well-placed French official. It is not a stamp of approval for Assad, whom we simply do not trust. There is a lot more involved. After a whirlwind visit to China on Sunday, Fabius is due to meet his British counterpart William Hague and US Secretary of State John Kerry in Paris on Monday before flying to Moscow on Tuesday. The diplomatic flurry, officials say, reflects a determination in the French government to defend their bottom lines: no impunity for Assad and his cronies, whom they want hauled before the International Criminal Court, and no let-up in the search for a political solution to a conflict that has left more than 110,000 people dead and more than a million displaced or refugees. To date, the French vision of how a political solution could be achieved has centred on steadily increasing support for the rebels with a view to tilting the military balance within Syria in their favour.
Sidelined France still determined to go after Assad
LEADING WITH BOLD INITIATIVES ” ? Brian has been bold in his initiatives,” said veteran driver Jeff Burton . “He didn’t just come in 10 years ago and say everything’s working the way it is, let’s not change. He got very proactive and tried to take the sport to a new level. “He’s been bold and that’s important. He’s also been at the reins during a very difficult time. He can’t control the economy. A lot of things happened under his reign that he couldn’t control. “I appreciate his desire to make it better. Every sport has to evolve and improve, and he hasn’t been afraid to try to make it better.” France’s own CEO highlight reel rivals that of the on-track product he’s overseen, and one of the features he’s most proud of is the creation of a playoff system, the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup , which begins a 10-race showdown this week in Chicago. In the competition department, he introduced hugely popular double-file restarts and even tweaked the original 10-driver Chase field to include two additional Wild Card participants based on victory totals that increased the emphasis on winning.