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Turkish deputy PM Babacan to maintain oversight of economy: officials

Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan leaves Kocatepe Mosque after Friday prayers in AnkaraTurkish Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan will retain overall responsibility for the economy in the new government, senior officials told Reuters late on Saturday, a move likely to ease concerns of a turf war within the cabinet. Babacan, and more recently Finance Minister Mehmet Simsek, have been part of a well-respected economics team that has helped steer Turkey through a decade of growth and stability. The announcement of new Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu's cabinet on Friday saw both men retain their posts. "Babacan will be in charge of economic affairs.

08/31/2014 03:25 AM

Fuel subsidy storm clouds gather before Indonesia power handover

Motorists fill their vehicles with subsidized gasoline at a fuel station in Jakarta on August 29, 2014Just weeks before Joko Widodo takes office, a ham-fisted attempt by the state energy firm to tackle huge fuel subsidies has sparked panic buying and highlighted the most pressing economic issue confronting Indonesia's next president. Outgoing President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has made some increases to the price of petrol and diesel during a decade in power, including a hike that averaged more than 30 percent last year, but has been criticised for not going far enough. "I am prepared to be unpopular," he said last week, adding that money from subsidies could be redirected to "villages, small and medium enterprises... farmers... fishermen and their boats". On the election campaign trail, Widodo said he would gradually reduce the subsidies over several years.

08/31/2014 02:07 AM

Worried EU leaders call jobs, growth summit for October
European Union leaders are set to hold an emergency summit on promoting growth and jobs in October at the suggestion of Italy, highlighting their concerns over the fragile economic recovery in the 28-country bloc. The emergency summit will focus on "employment, especially youth employment", which remains a big thorn in Europe's side as it seeks to revive a stagnating economy. Italy has been at the forefront of calls for greater flexibility from strict EU rules on budget deficits, alongside countries such as France, arguing that an excessive focus on German-style austerity has hampered Europe's recovery. "Europe must be more than the (bond) spread, rules and economic budgets," Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi told reporters after the meeting in Brussels.
08/30/2014 08:24 PM

Greece looks to debt relief in EU-IMF talks

A shoeshine man waits for customers in front of a shop in Athens on August 7, 2014A delegation of senior Greek ministers heads into meetings in Paris with EU-IMF creditors on Tuesday hoping to win a direly-needed new round of debt relief to propel economic recovery. Prime Minister Antonis Samaras's government expects creditors -- the so-called troika of the European Union, European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund -- to reward Greece's recent reform achievements with a concrete pledge to reduce payments on its massive debt. Despite a major reduction in 2012, Europe's statistics agency Eurostat estimates the country's debt in 2013 exceeded 318 billion euros ($420 billion), or 175.1 percent of economic output, up from 304 billion, or 157.2 percent, a year earlier. Much of the debt is held by European institutions, and Greece says alleviation could come through lower interest rates or longer maturities.

08/30/2014 03:37 PM

Poland's Tusk - Possible to combine fiscal discipline, growth
Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk, chosen by European Union leaders to chair their summits, said on Saturday that it was possible to combine fiscal discipline and economic growth in Europe. He also pledged to address the concerns of Britain, where Prime Minister David Cameron has promised a referendum on continued EU membership by 2017. "My experience as prime minister points to the fact that fiscal discipline on one side and economic growth on the other, combining these two challenges is possible," Tusk told a news conference in Brussels.
08/30/2014 03:02 PM

French prime minister, booed, hopes Socialists can bridge divides

French PM Valls is seen during the Socialist Party's "Universite d'ete" summer meeting in La RochelleBy Natalie Huet and Elizabeth Pineau PARIS/LA ROCHELLE France (Reuters) - French Prime Minister Manuel Valls was jeered on Saturday on the way to his Socialist Party's end-of-summer gathering, where attacks on the government's pro-business economic policy highlighted an uncomfortable divide within France's left. Stepping off the train in the western port town of La Rochelle, booed by left-wing militants and unionists, Valls said it was healthy for a party to debate policy, but warned that Socialists needed to stand united or risk losing voters. Valls reshuffled his cabinet on Tuesday, evicting rebel leftist ministers who had urged President Francois Hollande for an economic policy U-turn away from budgetary rigor, and further angering many on the Socialist party's left wing.

08/30/2014 02:03 PM

Worried EU leaders call jobs, growth summit for October 7: draft

French President Hollande poses for a family photo before a meeting with European Socialist leaders at the Elysee Palace in ParisEuropean Union leaders are set to hold an emergency summit on promoting growth and jobs on Oct. 7 at the suggestion of Italy, according to a draft of a statement to be issued after an EU summit on Saturday. Previous drafts before weak euro zone economic data in the past few days made no mention of the economic situation.

08/30/2014 11:10 AM

EU says could send over 1 billion euros more aid to Ukraine
The European Union may disburse more than one billion euros in loans to Ukraine over the coming months and could consider further aid beyond that, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said on Saturday. In March, the EU offered an 11 billion euro ($14.45 billion) package of loans and grants to Ukraine over the next several years to help get the shattered economy back on its feet. Ukraine has been caught in a geopolitical tug of war between the EU and Russia. "More than half a billion euros in loans and 250 million euros in grants have already been mobilized by the European Commission as part of this package," Barroso told reporters after talks with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in Brussels.
08/30/2014 08:16 AM

Polls show wide support in France for changes in 35-hour week

Newly-named French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron delivers a speech during the official handover ceremony at the Bercy Finance Ministry in ParisNearly two thirds of the French believe companies should be allowed exemptions to the country's 35-hour working week if they reach agreements with trade unions, two polls showed on Saturday. France's new pro-business Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron caused a stir this week - in an interview made before his appointment on Tuesday - for floating the idea as a measure that could help companies gain in confidence and competitiveness. The comments drew immediate fire from trade unions and the government was quick to stamp out speculation there could be a change in the law. Introduced by a previous Socialist-led government in 2000 in a bid to redistribute work and create jobs, the 35-hour week is fiercely protected by the French left - despite the fact that many French in reality work much longer hours than that.

08/30/2014 08:13 AM

Turkish president Erdogan appoints divisive aide as economic adviser
Newly inaugurated Turkish president Tayyip Erdogan has appointed his close aide Yigit Bulut to be his chief economics adviser, his office said on Saturday, a move likely to alarm investors already concerned over the management of the country's finances. Bulut, an influential but divisive figure, was a key voice in the ear of Erdogan when he was still prime minister. He appears to support his master on issues such as the existence of an "interest lobby", a shadowy group Erdogan has accused of trying to sabotage Turkey's economy through higher rates. Erdogan, who had held sway over politics as prime minister since 2003, was sworn in on Thursday as Turkey's first popularly-elected president, cementing his position as its most powerful leader of recent times.
08/30/2014 06:48 AM

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