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France seeks closer EU ties amid financial crisis

 France's President Francois Hollande, gestures as he speaks to France's ambassadors at the Elysee Palace, Monday, Aug. 27, 2012. President Francois H...

France Diplomacy

France's President Francois Hollande, gestures as he speaks to France's ambassadors at the Elysee Palace, Monday, Aug. 27, 2012. President Francois H...

President Francois Hollande called Monday for closer ties among eurozone nations and said France is ready to immediately start talks toward greater political union in Europe _ notably with Germany.
In a speech to France's ambassadors, Hollande said Europe faced dwindling unity, soaring debt and weakening industry, and urged leaders in the 17-nation eurozone to meet more often than twice a year as they do now.
"The role of the Eurogroup and its president must be strengthened," he said.
The wide-ranging speech covered ties to the French-speaking world, violence in Syria, terrorism in France's former colonies in Africa and major bilateral relationships such as with the U.S., China, Russia and Japan. But he called the European financial crisis "our greatest challenge."
Hollande called for application of the European Stability Mechanism, a planned (EURO)500 billion ($626.5 billion) permanent bailout fund, to lower interest rates of when European countries' sovereign debt levels rise too high.
"The time has come to put in place these measures for member states who request it," he said, adding that he hoped an EU summit Oct. 18 would reach a compromise on integrated bank sector supervision in Europe.
Hollande reiterated his hope to create a tax on international financial transactions in the framework of greater European cooperation _ "notably with Germany" _ by early next year.


Updated : 2021-05-10 17:08 GMT+08:00