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

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level 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.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid