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Europe Top News and Analysis France

  • The European Union on Wednesday opened an investigation into whether French companies get an unfair edge on the EU market from state-financed, low electricity tariffs.

  • One of the top executives of European aerospace firm EADS, strategy chief Jean-Paul Gut, announced his resignation on Monday in what he described as a rift with its French and German leaders over its structure.

  • Nicolas Sarkozy, President-elect France

    French President Nicolas Sarkozy is set to secure a huge parliamentary majority next week that will bolster his reform plans after his center-right allies dominated the first round of an election on Sunday.

  • The head of French bank Societe Generale has hired investment banks to advise on the possibility of a merger with larger domestic rival BNP Paribas, Les Echos newspaper reported on Friday.

  • French President Nicolas Sarkozy told world leaders on Thursday that China should adopt international currency exchange norms and open its internal markets to foreign companies, a French source said.

  • Big business is on the back burner at the Group of Eight summit. Instead of focusing on concerns about hedge funds, fluctuating currencies and better transparency in financial dealings, the world's eight wealthiest nations are putting their full focus on climate change and watching to see if a new spat between the U.S. and Russia could develop into another cold war.

  • The French government's plan to exempt workers and businesses from taxes on overtime pay to stimulate the economy will cost 2.5 billion euros to 3 billion euros  ($3.38 billion to $4.06 billion), Prime Minister Francois Fillon said Wednesday.

  • SNS Reaal has agreed to buy AXA's Dutch insurance operations for 1.75 billion euros  ($2.36 billion), the companies said in separate press statements.

  • England's Premiership soccer players will earn more than 1 billion pounds ($1.97 billion) for the first time next season thanks to television, sponsorship and merchandising deals, a top accountancy firm said on Thursday.

  • The French co-chairman of Airbus parent EADS, Arnaud Lagardere, was questioned for nine hours by stock market regulators as part of an inquiry into alleged insider trading, French media reported Wednesday.

  • Cannes Film Festival

    The Cannes Film Festival is about halfway through, and it's not just about starlets and red carpets -- real business gets done. Cannes is where American filmmakers go to meet with buyers from "foreign properties" to sell their international distribution rights. Often, independent filmmakers will sell foreign rights before the film is made, to finance production -- selling on the strength of the stars and the concept.

  • Air France-KLM posted full-year operating profit up 32.5% as sales rose 7.6%, with the impact of higher passenger activity offset by an increased fuel bill.

  • France's new budget minister, Eric Woerth, said Tuesday he sees growth in 2007 at 2.25% to 2.5%.

  • France will play an active role in solving the crisis at aerospace group EADS but will eventually sell its holding, French President Nicolas Sarkozy told workers at the headquarters of planemaking unit Airbus on Friday.

  • Sacre Bleu! French workers are the world's biggest whiners.  Dutch workers are the happiest, while the lowest worker morale is found in Japan.  Those are some of the conclusions of a study released earlier this week by FDS International, a London based market research agency.

  • French President Nicolas Sarkozy named Francois Fillon as prime minister on Thursday, banking on the moderate conservative's negotiating skills to push through sweeping reforms in the face of union resistance.

  • Nicolas Sarkozy succeeded Jacques Chirac as French president on Wednesday, promising to usher in an era of change and restore national pride.

  • French employment rose a provisional 0.6% in the first quarter, after an 0.2% rise in the previous quarter, statistics office Insee said.

  • Suez, the French power company planning to merge with Gaz de France, said Tuesday that it more than doubled its stake in Spanish rival Gas Natural.

  • The French consumer price index for April showed higher-than-expected increases of 0.5% from March and 1.3% from a year earlier, the Insee statistics office said.