News / Europe

S&P Downgrades French Credit Rating

France's Finance and Economy Minister Francois Baroin is seen in this still image taken from video as he speaks on national TV after the  downgrade of France's AAA rating, in Paris, January 13, 2012.
France's Finance and Economy Minister Francois Baroin is seen in this still image taken from video as he speaks on national TV after the downgrade of France's AAA rating, in Paris, January 13, 2012.
Lisa Bryant

Standard & Poor's Friday downgraded the credit ratings of nine European countries caught up in the eurozone crisis. This includes France, which has Europe's second-largest economy.

S&P's downgrade of France's credit rating has been expected for weeks. French Finance Minister Francois Baroin called it only "half a surprise," as he confirmed on TV Friday night the downgrade from AAA to AA+. He described it as among a series of S&P credit changes across the 17-nation eurozone.

Baroin said the news was not good, but that France's credit rating remained excellent. He said the downgrade only reaffirmed the government's determination to stabilize the governance of the eurozone. France was not alone as S&P also downgraded the credit standings of eight other nations.

Baroin said it was important to stay calm and not to politicize the event. France's downgrade is clearly a blow to French President Nicolas Sarkozy, however, just a few months ahead of presidential elections. Sarkozy, who remains deeply unpopular in France, has put a premium on maintaining the country's sterling rating.

His rivals have quickly pounced on the news.

Far-right presidential contender Marine Le Pen blamed the downgrade on the French leader. She said it was critical to shelter France through what she called "reasoned protectionism."

The euro currency and markets fell at expectations over the eurozone downgrades. In another blow to the shaky eurozone, banks suspended debt restructuring talks with Greece.

Some analysts consider the downgrades a major blow ahead of the year's first European Union summit that will address a French and German plan to bring new rigor to EU economies. But Laurent Maruani, of the HEC business school in Paris, downplays the impact of the French downgrade as "nonsense." He noted that a number of other countries have seen their credit ratings slashed.

'Because people from rating agencies have no real power, no real trust that we put in them. So if everybody's degraded what can happen?  Nothing really," said Maruani.

The eurozone sovereign debt and banking crisis is now in its third year. There has also been some good news, though, with the European Central Bank recently moving to end a credit crunch at banks.





You May Like

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

There is growing uncertainty over whether West’s response to ISIS is adequate More

China Crackdown on Dual Citizens Causes Concern

New policy encourages reporting people who obtain citizenship in another country, but retain Chinese citizenship; move spurs sharp debate More

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

Losing ground to Islamic State fighters, Syria's government says it is ready to cooperate with international community More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?i
X
Henry Ridgwell
August 29, 2014 12:26 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid