Tracy McNicoll

New Books on Carla Bruni-Sarkozy Fascinate

Michelle Obama may not think that her days at the White House are "hell." But, for allegedly suggesting Obama had told her as much, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy was on the hot seat after the September release of two new unauthorized biographies of the French first lady. The books, which catalog Bruni-Sarkozy's indiscretions, grabbed headlines around the world and indicate how enduring—though ambivalent—our fascination is with France's mercurial pop star turned première dame.

France Girds Itself For Pension Reform

As the debt-ridden Greek government remains mired in a fight to cut pension benefits and raise the retirement age, Europe's next pension-reform battle is already looming to the west. French president Nicolas Sarkozy is bringing pension reform to the fore of his agenda—but the issue could end up being his Waterloo. It's his most important battle, at the worst time, but it can't wait.

france can't seal the deal

When Fench president Nicolas ­Sarkozy dines with Barack Obama at the White House this week, expect the smiles to be strained. A pair of multibillion-dollar military-­procurement disputes have marred relations in recent weeks.

Aging Crisis Will Soon Hit Developing World

Judging by headlines on the U.S.'s and Europe's retirement crisis, you'd think the specter of aging populations plagued only rich countries. But a top French demographer says that developing nations will actually be the hardest hit by the gray wave.  Experts have long warned about the confluence of two trends in the industrialized world: an aging boomer population, which will strain social-security systems; and falling birthrates, which will cause a dearth of able-bodied workers to support...

Christophe de Margerie on Total

The French gas and oil major Total first struck oil near Kirkuk, in Iraq, in 1927, and in July, Total CEO Christophe de Margerie visited the country with French Prime Minister François Fillon and other French business leaders looking to renew commercial ties there.

Sarkozy's Turncoat Strategy

Paging all turncoats: Nicolas Sarkozy is reshuffling his cabinet again. Over the past two years, the conservative French president has offered high-profile jobs to leading Socialists and other prominent lefties, and five of them now hold seats in his cabinet, including Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner and Minister of Immigration Eric Besson.

France Back to Old Socialist Ways

Oil giant total is France's biggest company, which means it's also its most hated. It ranked last in a recent poll of France's most popular companies. Its announcement in February that it made a record €13.9 billion ($19.8 billion) profit in 2008 sparked cries of obscenity and a national debate on what good deeds it should perform with its windfall.