France’s Young Gun Fires On All Cylinders

RPT-UPDATE 2-EU and France play down tensions over reforms

At 14 years old, he is the youngest player at these Finals, but this is not his first big event. In August this year, Moutet was Frances No. 1 player at the World Junior Tennis Finals in Prostejov, Czech Republic. Those Finals are the equivalent of the ones taking place this week but for players aged 14-and-under. He is currently the No. 1-ranked player in Europe at the 14-and-under level. Moutet led France to the semifinals of World Junior Tennis Finals where they lost to eventual champions Russia. Until Thursday, his role in the Finals had been limited to doubles he played the first two days, winning one match, and losing the other in two tiebreak sets. On Thursday, Moutet got his chance to play singles. Frances captain Gilles Bonheme put him in as the No.2 player to face Guillermo Cabrera of Peru. He did not get off to the best of starts and found himself 4-2 down in the first set. He recovered quickly, however, to win the next nine games in the match to lead 62 5-0. Cabrera recovered one break of serve, but was powerless to stop Moutet claiming victory in his first singles rubber of the week.

“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. He also sought to play down any suggestion that France would not respect the Commission’s new monitoring powers.