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Tunisian PM postpones Paris trip amid French reshuffle talk

TUNIS (Reuters) - Tunisia's new prime minister has postponed a visit to France next week, his spokesman said on Wednesday, amid growing speculation French President Francois Hollande will begin reshuffling his cabinet once local elections are over. Mehdi Jomaa had been due to meet Hollande and Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault on Monday and Tuesday in a long-planned trip to boost bilateral and economic relations.

French PM says Ukraine's integrity must be respected

French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault on Saturday said the territorial integrity of Ukraine "must absolutely be respected", speaking on the sidelines of a congress of European social-democrats in Rome. "There is a requirement that must absolutely be respected -- the territorial integrity of the country," Ayrault said, adding: "Everything must be done for this integrity to be totally respected. This requires a great sense of responsibility from all the players". mle/dt/yad

France will not 'copy' British economic policies

French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said Thursday that his government will not copy British economic policies as they had created poverty and inequality. "I see a lot more poverty, more inequalities and if I was to look for a model to reform France I would want to save the French model reforming it and certainly not copy what others do, especially not if we're not talking about the best," Ayrault told French private TV network TF1.

France to allow private security on shipping fleet: PM

PARIS (Reuters) - France will allow private security forces to protect its shipping fleet against the threat of piracy, Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said in an interview published on Tuesday. France is one of the main contributors to an international naval force that patrols the waters off Somalia in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean to foil pirate attacks. Ayrault said the move would put the French shipping fleet on a better footing with European competitors already allowed to use private security.

French PM promises reform of tax system as anger mounts

French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, facing a growing tide of anger over tax rises, vowed on Tuesday to overhaul the tax system. Ayrault, who heads a left-wing government under strong pressure on several fronts, promised widespread consultations on how the tax system should be reformed. The move was welcomed by unions but business groups were wary and the centre-right opposition called the plan "surreal".

French PM announces plan to simplify tax system

PARIS (Reuters) - French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said on Monday he wanted to simplify the tax system, announcing a consultation process with the aim of proposing a broad tax reform to parliament by 2015. The Socialist government has suffered criticism over tax increases introduced to shore up public finances, with business leaders saying an excessively complex and costly system is driving away investors.

France unveils emergency plan for crisis-hit Brittany

France's Socialist government on Wednesday announced emergency measures to help Brittany, which has been hit by protests over job losses in the struggling food industry. The move comes after a series of demonstrations in the northwestern region, including a protest by hundreds of workers this week that blocked roads and a runway at Brest airport. The protests have sparked concern among President Francois Hollande's Socialists, who are floundering in the polls and facing a tough battle in municipal elections next March.

Alcatel plan won't be accepted if no union deal: French PM

PARIS (Reuters) - Telecoms equipment maker Alcatel-Lucent <ALUA.PA> must negotiate a good deal with unions that saves as many jobs as possible or face the risk that its restructuring will not be rubber-stamped, French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said on Wednesday. Alcatel-Lucent unveiled plans on Tuesday to cut 10,000 jobs worldwide, including 900 in France.

France urges Europe meeting on migrants after Italy tragedy

French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault called Saturday for a meeting of European countries on border management after the tragic shipwreck off Italy in which hundreds are feared dead. "Beyond the tragedy... European political officials must talk, and soon," Ayrault said on the sidelines of a meeting in the eastern French city of Metz, adding: "It is up to them to meet to find a proper solution; compassion is not enough." mat/gd/vjf

French PM orders examination of laws restricting store openings in France amid new protests

PARIS - France's prime minister has ordered an examination of laws restricting stores from opening on Sundays after a court ruling and protests by labourers revived the debate over the subject. French law has established Sunday as a mandatory day off to help ensure rest and quality of life. Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault met with government ministers Monday to discuss the issue. He also appointed a former head of Paris' transport authority and the state-run postal service to report on the matter by late November.
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