France - Brazil

More debt trouble ahead for France, says Fillon in Brazil

Reuters/Jean-Paul Pelissier

French Prime Minister François Fillon has warned that France can expect more trouble from the eurozone debt crisis on a visit to Brazil where he hopes to sell fighter-jets and drum up other trade.

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“The crisis is not over and it is likely that we will to face jolts markets and agencies have their own logic,” Fillon told businessmen in a speech in Sao Paulo. “They deal with the immediate, the instantaneous.”

Dossier: Eurozone in crisis

But, he added, what matters is “not the judgement on a given day” but the fact that France has adopted “the rigorous budget trajectory” agreed by most of the European Union.

Two agencies, Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s, have warned that they may downgrade France from its triple-A rating. On Monday French President Nicolas Sarkozy declared, “It would be another difficulty, but not an insurmountable one.”

Fillon was to meet Brazilian President Dilma Rouosseff.

He hopes to sell Rafale fighter-jets to Brazil but the US and Sweden are also bidding to supply 36 multi-role combat aircraft.

France last week warned the jets’ manufacturer, Dassault, that Rafale production will have to stop if it cannot sell them abroad.

France is also supplying with Brazil with four diesel-electric submarines and helping it to develop the non-nuclear components of its first nuclear-powered fast-attack submarines.

France and Brazil:

  • Trade between France and Brazil totals at least seven billion euros;
  • France and Brazil signed a strategic accord in 2008;
  • 500 French companies operate in Brazil;
  • Brazil is the world’s sixth biggest economy;
  • Its 2010 GDP growth was 7.5 per cent;
  • It expects 3.5 per cent growth this year, due to the eurozone debt crisis and the US slowdown.

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