PARIS, May 23 -- French President Francois Hollande on Wednesdayreiterated the necessity of greater emphasis on growth to stem twoyears of financial turmoil in the eurozone, urging to work hard tomaintain Greece in the single-currency bloc. "How can we reach reduction of public deficit and control debts ifthere are not addtional activities... We can not accept a eurozonewhere zero growth rate is expected in 2012 and a dim rate in 2013,"Hollande said. "We have to set growth policies at the European scale becausegrowth is a condition to meet deficit targets," he added. In a joint press conference with Spanish Prime Minister MarianoRajoy, the Socialist head of state said he will put euro bondsissue on the agenda of Wednesday's informal European Union (EU)summit in Brussels despite consistent German opposition. |
"I'll talk on the euro bonds issue not to be in conflict with theothers, the idea is to think about a financing way which allowsgovernments to have funding with the lowest possible interest rateand to be protected from speculations," the French president noted. Newly inaugurated Hollande wants to change the terms of the debatein Europe with further focus on growth rather on austerity policiesassociated with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and his predecessorNicolas Sarkozy. Hollande's pact of growth seems gaining support in the Europeanbloc where several members are at the frontline of the crisis. In this context, visiting Rajoy urged "policies that stimulategrowth" and "strengthen the euro." "Reducing budget deficits is not enough.
It's important to havepolicies that stimulate growth... We are in favor for budgetmonitoring but we must have policies that lead us to growth," Rajoysaid. Furthermore, Hollande and Rajoy pointed to the need to have enoughliquidity into the European financial system to consolidate thefinancial assets of all European banks. They also expressed hopes to maintain debt-ridden Greece in theeurozone after reports said eurozone officials called members toprepare contingency plans in case Athens will decide to leave thebloc. "I will do what I can do to convince the Greeks to choose to stayin the zone and also I will do everything to convince the Europeanswho could doubt the necessity to keep Greece in the euro area,"Hollande told reporters.
"We have to stay together and I cannot prepare a diferentscenario," he added. After the Paris meeting, Hollande and Rajoy will fly to Brusselslater to attend a summit over a dinner in a fresh attempt to injectnew dynamism into the sticken European economies.
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