Bloomberg News

Hollande Repeats Call to Renegotiate EU Treaty; Rival Doubts Credibility

March 04, 2012

Francois Hollande, the Socialist candidate in France’s presidential election, repeated his promise to renegotiate Europe’s latest fiscal treaty, saying it puts undue emphasis on austerity and offers little about the need for growth measures.

“Discipline is necessary on a European level; each state needs to make an effort to improve its accounts,” Hollande said on France 3 television today. “But it will be impossible to meet these goals if there isn’t growth and jobs and activity.”

European Union leaders signed a German-inspired deficit- control treaty on March 2 that puts a tighter curbs on spending and mandates automatic corrections of deficits that stray from targets. It is due to take effect on Jan. 1, 2013, and must be ratified by at least 12 of the 17 euro-area countries. All 17 countries in the euro area, including France, and eight EU members outside the currency bloc signed the treaty.

“If tomorrow I’m president, I’ll say there are parts of this treaty we can accept, but we won’t accept sanctions that are against countries’ interests and, second, we’ll add growth, activity, big industrial projects, Eurobonds to pull the economy ahead.”

Hollande’s comments came the same day that Der Spiegel reported that German Chancellor Angela Merkel, U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti had all agreed not to host the Socialist candidate before this year’s presidential election because they are angry about his plan to renegotiate the new budget pact.

‘Lack of Credibility’

“There’s simply a lack of credibility when he says he would want to renegotiate the European pact that all of your partners just spent weeks negotiating,” Nathalie Kosciusko- Morizet, the spokeswoman for French President Nicolas Sarkozy and the former ecology minister, said on Canal Plus television today.

It’s up to each individual leader to decide whether they want to host Hollande, a German government spokesman said today by phone, declining to identified because of government rules. She wouldn’t say whether there was any agreement among the leaders and said that no decision had yet been made on Hollande’s request for a meeting with Merkel in Berlin.

With less than two months to go before the first round of French elections, Sarkozy trailed Hollande by 7.5 percentage points in a LH2 poll of 971 registered voters for Yahoo! published today.

Hollande, who has never held a government position, was the Socialist Party’s leader from 1997 to 2008.

To contact the reporter on this story: Alan Katz in Paris at akatz5@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Melissa Pozsgay at mpozsgay@bloomberg.net.


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