France threatens Google over data protection breaches

“France has made a huge effort to restore its public finances, and this draft budget law is characterised by responsibility and prudent policy making,” Olli Rehn, the EU’s economic and monetary affairs commissioner told a joint news conference with Moscovici, waving a copy of the French budget. Rehn made no mention of Hollande’s pension reform plans, which do not raise the country’s retirement age as the Commission has demanded. Germany also wants to see the euro zone’s second largest economy address overspending. Brussels says Paris is not taking radical enough action to combat rising labour costs, a falling share of international export markets and an industrial decline, threatening a shock to its economy that would resonate through the 17-nation euro zone. France’s economic well-being is central to the health of the currency area, but the country’s pride in its status as a leading member of the European Union means it resists taking advice from EU institutions. The pension reform, among the most closely watched measures undertaken by Hollande since he took office in May 2012, aims to fill a hole in the pension system that could reach almost 21 billion euros ($28 billion) by 2020. Though Hollande’s reform will lengthen the number of years worked, it does not change the legal retirement age of 62 years for a full pension, which is one of the lowest in Europe. “NO CONSTRAINTS” In the shadow of the pension reform, Moscovici presented France’s 2014 budget to parliament on Wednesday. He plans 15 billion euros in savings to reach a deficit of 3.6 percent of economic output, which should allow Paris to bring the budget deficit to below the EU’s 3 percent ceiling in 2015. Under EU rules, sharpened at the peak of the debt crisis in late 2011, euro zone countries can face fines if they fail to meet deficit targets and risk damaging investor confidence. Moscovici was also keen to convince Rehn, who has new powers to check countries’ budgets, that France’s planned budget savings and economic forecasts are in line with its commitments.

France moves closer to fining Google over data privacy

An Air France spokesman declined to comment. Air France said Sept. 23 it would await more information from the Italian carriers board before committing to any move. Hiring Advisers The relatively small capital increase being sought suggests the move is only a short or mid-term solution, said Yan Derocle, an analyst at Oddo Securities in Paris. Air France has hired Lazard Ltd. (LAZ) and Mediobanca SpA (MB) as advisers to consider its options on Alitalia, Italy s Messaggero reported this week, without saying where it obtained the information. Alitalia in turn has hired Gruppo Banca Leonardo as seeks to end operating losses in 2014. While owning Alitalia would give Europes largest airline access to one of the regions biggest aviation markets and help feed trans-Atlantic routes, the need for capital comes as Air Frances domestic unit struggles to stem its own losses. The Paris-based carrier last week scrapped a target of reaching break-even at Air France as it sought to cut 2,800 more jobs. Italys Infrastructure and Transport Minister, Maurizio Lupi, met with his French counterpart yesterday to discuss the situation. He has said the government is not against Air France doubling its stake, while seeking guarantees on jobs and investments for the flagship carrier. Falling Traffic The Italian airlines passenger traffic retreated 4 percent to 10.7 million passengers in the first six months, with revenue falling to 1.62 billion euros. Net financial debt for the carrier reached 946 million euros, including 600 million euros for aircraft liabilities, it said.

The segment’s penetration rate remained stable at 6.3% in 2012. Pension products were the leading French review-period life insurance product category. Pension policies accounted for 82.3% of the segment’s premiums in 2012. Bancassurance dominated the life insurance distribution network. The channel accounted for an average share of 60.6% of the total review-period life insurance commission paid. Complete report Life Insurance in France, Key Trends and Opportunities to 2017 is available at http://www.rnrmarketresearch.com/life-insurance-in-france-key-trends-and-opportunities-to-2017-market-report.html . (Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130927/MN87823 ) France has a large and well-developed domestic reinsurance segment, with the reinsurance premium valued at EUR16.4 billion (US$21.0 billion) in 2012. There were 19 reinsurers operating in France at the end of 2011. International reinsurers such as Munich Re, Swiss Re and Berkshire Hathaway dominated the segment. Despite slow growth in the insurance industry, the reinsurance segment increased at a review-period CAGR of 4.9%. Complete report Reinsurance in France, Key Trends and Opportunities to 2017 is available at http://www.rnrmarketresearch.com/reinsurance-in-france-key-trends-and-opportunities-to-2017-market-report.html .

Alitalia’s Rising Loss Risks Deterring Air France Stake Increase

The issue of data protection has gathered steam worldwide following revelations by Edward Snowden, a former contractor with the National Security Agency, that the US had a vast, secret programme called PRISM to monitor Internet users. France’s CNIL said Google had failed to comply with data protection guidelines within a three-month deadline and said it would begin a formal sanction procedure, under which the US giant could be fined up to 150,000 euros ($205,000). CNIL had asked Google to inform web users in France on how it processes their personal data and to define exactly how long they can store the information. It had also requested that the US giant obtain users’ permission before storing cookies on their computers, referring to files that track netizens and allow companies to target them with tailored commercials. “On the last day of this (three-month) period, Google responded to the CNIL. Google contests the reasoning of the CNIL and has not complied with the requests laid down in the enforcement notice,” the watchdog said in a statement. “In this context, the Chair of the CNIL will now designate a rapporteur for the purpose of initiating a formal procedure for imposing sanctions.” In its response, Google made no mention of any challenge to CNIL’s reasoning and maintained it respects European law. France’s move follows Google’s introduction last year of a new privacy policy which enables it to track user activity across its search engine, Gmail, the Google+ social networking platform and other services it owns, which include YouTube. The changes make it easier for Google to collect and process data that could be used by advertisers to target individuals with offers tailored to their specific interest, thereby increasing the company’s revenue potential. Google has defended the changes it made last year on the ground that they simplify and standardise its approach across its various services. But critics argue that the policy, which offers no ability to opt out aside from refraining from signing into Google services, gives the operator of the world’s largest search engine unprecedented ability to monitor its users.

France Insurance Market Trends & 2017 Opportunities: Life, Non-Life and Reinsurance Industry Analysis

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