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France

French PM Valls submits government resignation

Manuel Valls has presented the French government's resignation to President Francois Hollande. Hollande accepted, and charged Valls with forming a new government.

The French economic malaise

The presidential Elysee Palace in Paris on Monday announced that Prime Minister Manuel Valls had offered the government's resignation to embattled President Francois Hollande. Hollande accepted, the communique said, adding that the president had called on Valls to set up a new cabinet.

"The head of state asked him [Valls] to set up a team that fits with the approaches he himself had laid out for our country," the Elysee statement said, adding the a new government should be named on Tuesday.

This followed an acrimonious week in Paris, after Valls and Economy Minister Arnaud Montebourg traded public barbs over economic policy and particularly Germany's emphasis on austerity for the economically fragile eurozone. Montebourg told French paper Le Monde that Germany had "imposed" a policy of austerity across Europe, saying other countries should speak out.

Frankreich erste Kabinettssitzung 04.04.2014

France has already shuffled its cabinet once this year

President Hollande campaigned on a platform of greater stimulus spending and less rigorous austerity as the solution to the eurozone's debt-related difficulties; however he has since struggled to implement major changes in this direction with European partners in Brussels. Hollande had sought a more diplomatic approach than Montebourg, however: "I hope we can convince our European partners to make growth a priority," Hollande said this week when asked about his minister's comments.

Valls was appointed as the head of Hollande's government in April, replacing Jean-Marc Ayrault. His appointment at the time coincided with several key ministerial shuffles. Montebourg, however, was a founder member of Hollande and Ayrault's cabinet in 2012.

msh/sb (AFP, Reuters)

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