Nov. 16 - French officials have rejected a charge by The Economist magazine that France was the ''time-bomb at the heart of Europe''. But analysts warn the core euro zone member needs to reform. Joanna Partridge reports
From the news stands to the corridors of power. The latest edition of The Economist magazine has caused a row by accusing France of being the "time-bomb at the heart of Europe". French officials have reacted angrily to the British weekly's comments. Industry Minister Arnaud Montebourg told Europe 1 radio it was just sensationalist journalism, as seen in French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. SOUNDBITE: Arnaud Montebourg, French Industry Minister, saying (French): "These are caricatures of the likes of Charlie Hebdo because, honestly, The Economist has never distinguished itself by its sense of even-handedness, it is the Charlie Hebdo of the City." The magazine's special report on the core euro zone member questions whether President Francois Hollande's economic reforms are ambitious enough. And it claims France could be the biggest danger to the euro. Sophie Pedder, The Economist's Paris correspondent, thinks the magazine has touched a raw nerve. SOUNDBITE: Sophie Pedder, The Economist's Paris correspondent, saying (English): "We're not a satirical magazine like Charlie Hebdo, the content is very, perfectly serious and it's well analysed and backed up with plenty of documentary fact and I think that it's that that is recognised somewhere by the government and that's why they've become so sensitive to it." PTC The Economist is known for satirical and sometimes provocative front covers, but it is well-respected by the business and financial sector. It has a circulation of over 1.5 million around the globe - and 46,000 of those readers are in France. The Economist isn't alone in voicing concerns about the French economy. It may still be growing but analysts are worried it will get left behind as its neighbours are asked to reform. Tom Vosa is from National Australia Bank. SOUNDBITE: Tom Vosa, Head of Market Economics, NAB Group, saying (English): "We're seeing here an economy which is struggling to grow, where the government again has seemed hesistant to certainly reform the labour market, and indeed to reduce the size of the state. But it's not only a problem now more time and arguably if Hollande does take up this reformist agenda he seems to have done, then he buys himself a lot more time in order to carry out the reforms far more slowly." French politicians may not like The Economist's comments, but the ongoing crisis in the euro zone has shown that one country's problems can easily become another's.