Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Crédit Agricole Threatened by Greek Collapse

Crédit Agricole, which purchased the Greek bank Emporiki in 2006, has suffered huge losses over the past two years. Stockholders have lost a great deal of money and are angry at management.

More interesting employment data


Precarious Employment Mostly Affects the Young

According to this study:

Répartition de l'emploi selon le statut et selon l'âge
Unité : %
15 à 29 ans30 à 49 ans50 ans et plusEnsemble
Non salariés4,511,516,911,5
Dont salariés en contrat à durée indéterminée63,280,877,676,4
- du privé53,962,757,059,4
- du public9,418,120,620,6
Salariés précaires32,37,75,512,1
Dont intérimaires4,21,50,71,8
Dont apprentis6,70,00,01,4
Dont salariés en contrat à durée déterminée17,35,23,97,3
- du privé, hors contrats aidés12,13,32,64,9
- du public, hors contrats aidés5,21,91,32,4
Dont stagiaires et contrats aidés4,01,01,01,6
- du privé3,00,60,51,0
- du public1,00,40,50,6
Source : Insee, enquête emploi en continu 2010, Population active occupée.

On the Road Again

I will be in New York for a couple of days, so blogging will again be light.

Front de Gauche Welcomes Tspiras to Paris

The Front de Gauche welcomed Alexis Tsipras, the leader of the Greek radical left Syriza party, to Paris.

Analysis of FN Vote in Basse-Normandie

It's exurban workers who made the difference.

Ayrault: More "Sobriety"

Prime minister Jean-Marc Ayrault has warned several of his ministers that they'd better demonstrate a little more "sobriety" in their management of the media. Concertation is the watchword. This is no accident. Hollande clearly believes that one of Sarkozy's fundamental errors was that he spoke too loudly and too often. He will underscore the contrast between himself and his predecessor by speaking softly and--presumably--carrying a big stick. So he held firm on his commitment to withdraw French troops from Afghanistan while speaking rather softly about the move so as not to ruffle too many feathers.

To be sure, some have said that he didn't actually hold firm, that he waffled on leaving about half the French contingent behind as "trainers" and will contribute to a fund for training Afghan police and soldiers. This sort of quibbling misses the point, which is that France's commitment to the Afghan war was more symbolic than substantive (with no disrespect to the real sacrifices of French soldiers, but the French contingent amounted to about 2% of the NATO force), and its withdrawal is equally symbolic. Hollande is stating firmly that he, and most French voters, believe that the mission has lost its purpose and should be ended. He deserves credit for acting on an accurate judgment of the situation.

Real Friends

You know who your real friends are when you're out of power and they still suck up to you. For Sarko, it looks as though Hortefeux and Estrosi are willing to go down with the ship.
Au sein de l'UMP, cependant, M. Hortefeux n'exclut pas d'organiser un courant sarkozyste, faisant "la synthèse des idées populaires et sociales", autour de la thématique de la "droite forte". Par précaution, l'association va aussi recevoir l'agrément de la Commission nationale des comptes de campagne et des financements politiques.
L'association devrait constituer son bureau avant la fin mai. Outre M. Hortefeux et M. Estrosi, probable futur secrétaire général, il devrait inclure des personnalités de diverses sensibilités, comme l'ex-ministre de la ville Maurice Leroy (Nouveau Centre) ou l'ancienne ministre du logement Christine Boutin (Parti chrétien-démocrate).
This does not look like a club with much of a future. As for Sarko himself, he's in Marrakech with the wife and baby, soaking up the rays. After that, he's said that he wants to make money, not sit around with Hortefeux and Estrosi reminiscing about the glory days.

The FN in the Legislatives

The Front National could win 5 to 8 seats in the next National Assembly.
Il faudra donc suivre avec une attention particulière les circonscriptions où Mme Le Pen est arrivée en tête au premier tour de la présidentielle. Et notamment les douze où elle a devancé Nicolas Sarkozy, le 22 avril : la 5e de l'Aisne, où la députée sortante, Isabelle Vasseur (UMP), peut être en difficulté, la 12e des Bouches-du-Rhône, la 2e du Gard, la 6e de l'Hérault, la 2e de Haute-Marne, la 1rede la Meuse, les 5e et 7e de la Moselle, la 2e de l'Oise, la 2e des Pyrénées-Orientales, les 3e et 4e du Vaucluse.

Un autre cas de figure sensible est celui où Mme Le Pen est arrivée en tête et devant François Hollande au premier tour de la présidentielle. Cela concerne 11 circonscriptions : la 3e de l'Aisne, les 13e et 16e des Bouches-du-Rhône, la 4edu Gard, la 4e de Meurthe-et-Moselle, la 20e du Nord, la 1re de l'Oise, la 11e du Pas-de-Calais (celle de Mme LePen), la 2e de la Haute-Saône, la 2e des Vosges et la 5e de la Somme. Là, on suivra avec attention l'attitude des électeurs - et des responsables - de la droite.

A Comparison of French and American Healthcare

More similar than you might think. (h/t Arun Kapil)

The European Impasse in a Nutshell

All options will be on the table when European leaders meet this week, including euro bonds, Mr. Moscovici said. “Each one has his own point of view, but at the same time, François Hollande has said that it is important to put everything on the table,” said Mr. Moscovici, referring to his boss, the newly inaugurated president of France.

The German side:
But the German government is staunchly opposed to euro bonds until deeper integration and harmonization of budgetary and public spending policies have been achieved. Most Germans see euro bonds as another way for fellow European states to benefit from, and ultimately drag down, Germany’s unblemished credit rating.

Mr. Schäuble’s deputy, Steffen Kampeter, was much more forthcoming in reiterating German opposition to any such proposal. Mr. Kampeter called the joint bonds “a prescription at the wrong time with the wrong side effects,” in an interview with German public radio.
And so the train, which had been headed for a cliff, but which slowed briefly for the French elections, has now resumed its headlong rush to doom, punctuated by cheerful paeans to "Growth!" sung to the tune of "The Ode to Joy," Europe's anthem.

ADDENDUM: On the other hand, the OECD has joined the call for eurobonds, saying that they are necessary to make the euro work.