French Follies

Quelle Surprise!

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France elected hard line socialists to power on May 15 of this year.  What has happened since?  Something that will come as no surprise to anyone with even a cursory knowledge of history:

Moody’s credit rating agency has stripped France of its coveted AAA rating and declared that the country’s economic outlook remains “negative”.

In what will be a severe blow to Socialist president François Hollande, the agency said it was reducing the country’s rating from AAA to AA1, claiming France’s ability for economic growth was being hampered by “structural challenges” including its lack of competitiveness, high unemployment, public debt and market rigidity.

It said it was not confident Hollande’s government could – or would – introduce the necessary structural reforms and spending cuts to improved its rating in the medium term and expressed concern over France’s exposure to risks from other ailing eurozone countries.

Moody’s decision follows Standard & Poor’s downgrading of France’s rating a notch in January.

It came as France was reeling from a damning Economist article entitled “The time-bomb at the heart of Europe”. The special report warned that the parlous state of the French economy, its rising unemployment, lack of competitiveness, dwindling industry and high public spending, could overshadow the problems of Greece or Spain, and sparked angry reactions from French ministers. Continue reading

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