Jean-Marc Ayrault

France to shut far-right group after student death

France— Link

The group to be shut down, the Revolutionary Nationalist Youths, is the militant wing of a broader far-right movement known as the "Third Way".

France hits rich families' tax breaks in benefit reforms

Économie— Link

Bulk of savings will come from reducing the income tax exemptions that wealthy parents can claim according to number of children they have.

French PM 'tells ministers to avoid English'

France— Link

Jean-Marc Ayrault is reported to have told ministers to favour using French after his industry minister launches 'Silver economy' drive - in English.

Ailing French PM Jean-Marc Ayrault turns to new spin doctor

France

Late on Friday, the French Prime Minister’s office announced it was sacking its two public relations directors and the creation of a new “communications pole”, to be headed by a high-flying executive from the multinational advertising and PR group Publicis. The move revealed a growing malaise within government at Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault’s failure to impose himself on the public stage, and came less than 24 hours after President François Hollande held a lengthy television interview in which Ayrault's name was not once mentioned. Mathieu Magnaudeix reports.

'We're losing 5-0': the sombre mood among French socialist MPs after budget minister's resignation

France— Report

The resignation of budget minister Jérôme Cahuzac after a full judicial investigation was launched over his Swiss bank account sent shock waves through the ruling Socialist Party. Many MPs refuse to believe that their colleague has lied over the affair. Others want to turn the page as quickly as possible and put the matter behind them. But as Mathieu Magnaudeix, Stéphane Alliès and Lénaïg Bredoux report, one thing that is certain is that the resignation has not improved the mood in the ruling party, where one MP likened the current situation to a football match in which his side is being hammered...

Behind the protests: Vinci's lucrative deal to build the controversial Great West Airport

France— Investigation

The plan to build the so-called Great West Airport in the unique hedgerow farmland of France’s lower Loire Valley has provoked one of the biggest environmental protests seen in the country for years. The row also has a strong political dimension with Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault being a big supporter of the plan ever since he was mayor of Nantes, while the government's Green allies are deeply opposed. But there is also another, less visible, aspect to the project - the favourable contract won by giant French construction group Vinci to build and run the airport. Jade Lindgaard reports.

French PM slams flight of the 'greedy rich'

France— Link

Jean-Marc Ayrault attacks wealthy citizens fleeing France's punitive tax on high incomes as greedy profiteers seeking to "become even richer".

Government sends mixed messages over bloody battle for new airport

France

Prime minister Jean-Marc Ayrault has sought to calm the major controversy surrounding plans for a new airport near his home city of Nantes by calling for “dialogue”. But at the same time the forces of law and order led a major operation against protesters at the planned airport site, leaving up to 100 people injured. Jade Lindgaard charts the latest developments in a bitter saga that is proving damaging both to the government's relations with its green allies and its reputation on environment issues.

Socialists face dogfight with Greens over France's 'Great West' airport

France

A long-simmering protest movement against a project to build a new airport close to the town of Nantes, in western France, has over recent weeks grown into a major political battle that now threatens a rupture in the already strained relations between the ruling Socialist Party and its Green party allies, the EELV. Thousands of demonstrators – 13,000 according to the police, 40,000 according to the protestors – turned out at the weekend (pictured), supported by the EELV, to re-occupy the zone designated for the construction of Notre-Dame-des-Landes airport in a rural area close to Nantes, and which the largely socialist-led local authorities argue is a key element in the future development of the economy in north-west France. Jade Lindgaard reports.

Ayrault backtracks after offering 35-hour working week debate

France— Link

The French prime minister is forced into an embarrassing climbdown after suggesting a possible change to the country's historic 35-hour work week.

'In the spring we elected him and in the autumn he betrayed us'

France— Analysis

Just days ahead of a crucial vote on whether the European Treaty on Stability, Cooperation and Governance (TSCG), otherwise known as the Fiscal Pact, should be ratified, the French Left is deeply split on the issue. Socialist prime minister Jean-Marc Ayrault says that if the treaty is not ratified the very future of the euro would be at stake. But a number of MPs on the left of the Socialist Party and from the Greens and radical-left Front de Gauche are bitterly opposed to it, claiming it is simply a charter for permanent austerity. Already there has been a well-attended protest march against the treaty, with some demonstrators even accusing President François Hollande of 'betraying' them over the issue. Though the National Assembly is certain to back the ratification anyway because of support from the Right, the issue is seen as a major test of the prime minister’s and president’s authority. Lénaïg Bredoux and Mathieu Magnaudeix report on the political headaches the treaty is causing the government while Mathieu Magnaudeix and Liza Fabbian take the temperature from the street protests.

French 2013 budget taxes richest, cuts spending

France— Link

French PM Jean-Marc Ayrault announces "a combat budget" of tax increases and spending cuts for 2013, with new tax levies on high earners.

Bland or grand? The insiders judge Jean-Marc Ayrault

France— Analysis

French socialist Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault has finally presented the detail of his  belt-tightening 2013 budget, designed to provide a deficit reduction of 30 billion euros, which was given a critical reception by both the austerity-rejecting Left and the anti-rich tax Right.  Since President François Hollande appointed him as Prime Minister in May, Ayrault, struggling to reach a consensus among his own parliamentary majority, while keen not to alienate the business community, has been slammed in the media for a slowly-slowly approach to decision-making that can’t keep pace with the economic crisis. Dithering or quietly determined, bland or grand? Stéphane Alliès, Lénaïg Bredoux and Mathieu Magnaudeix have been collecting the divided and frank views from inside the corridors of power, including those of ministers and senior advisors.

More of French PM’s interview with Mediapart: the TSCG, making EU more democratic, cabinet splits and Muslim anger

International— Interview

In this second and final part of his exclusive interview with Mediapart, French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault answers the suggestion that he is railroading the democratic process with the adoption of the European Treaty on Stability, Cooperation and Governance (TSCG), sets out his position on the widespread use of tax havens by big banks and corporations, and for greater representation of national parliaments in EU decision-making. He also answers questions on recent domestic issues, including his government's decision to ban demonstrations in protest at the publication by a French magazine of cartoon caricatures of Prophet Mohammed, and the calling to book of his interior minister over his out-of-step comments on racial profiling and the right to vote of of non-EU nationals.

French PM Ayrault slams 'lack of vision' over euro crisis, calls for breathing space for Greece and defends fiscal compact

International— Interview

In this first part of a wide-ranging exclusive interview with Mediapart, French Prime Minister Jean-Marc pledges his government will do its all to keep the euro alive, argues that a delay should be given to Greece to meet its deficit target and answers mounting criticism that he and President François Hollande have capitulated their pro-growth policies with the adoption, without any compromise, of the austerity-promoting European Treaty on Stability, Cooperation and Governance, the TSCG. The French Prime Minister, in an interview conducted in French and translated here into English, calls on the treaty’s opponents to come clean that they want to leave the euro, and claims the election of President Hollande has announced a re-orientation of European policy-making. “I am convinced there has been an enormous degree of political weakness and lack of vision since the start of the crisis,” he comments, adding that European leaders are “beginning to be conscious of the major risks into which we will be plunged if Greece leaves the euro.”