Saturday

27th Aug 2016

Hollande calls for special summit on eurozone growth

  • Hollande: 'There is no time to lose' (Photo: consilium.europa.eu)

French president Francois Hollande has called for a summit on eurozone growth, warning that “Europe is threatened by a long and possibly interminable stagnation if we do nothing.”

In a speech to his ambassadors in Paris on Thursday (August 28), Hollande said the summit is needed to co-ordinate efforts across EU capitals to stimulate growth.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

"The recovery is too weak. Inflation is too low. The [value of the] euro is too high," he said.

He also repeated his demand for the EU’s budgetary rules, which require governments to keep within a 3 percent deficit limit, to be applied more flexibly, nothing that "the rhythm of deficit reduction must be compatible with growth goals and weak inflation."

In response, a spokesman for the European Commission said the issues would be discussed at an informal meeting of finance ministers in Milan in early September.

Hollande’s request for flexibility is not new and he is not alone in making it. At the weekend, Italy’s transport minister said he would ask Brussels to exclude infrastructure projects from deficit calculations.

Paris has conceded that it will miss its 3.9 percent deficit target this year and is unlikely to bring its deficit within the EU’s 3 percent limit by the end of 2015.

But Hollande insisted that France needed to reduce its budget deficit, saying that it is a “condition for putting Europe back on a growth path capable of reducing unemployment”.

Hollande’s government is under pressure from Brussels and Berlin to step up its economic liberalisation programme.

On Wednesday, commission spokesman Simon O’Connor warned that "It is urgent for France ... to speed up the work they are doing, the structural reforms".

“There is no time to lose”, he added.

The French economy, which is the bloc’s second largest behind Germany, has flat-lined in the first six months of 2014. But its dismal performance has barely been bettered by the rest of the eurozone, which recorded meagre growth of 0.2 percent, leading to concerns that it could fall into a triple dip recession.

The Frankfurt-based European Central Bank is poised to launch a concerted bond-buying programme in a bid to stimulate more economic activity, as well as a new four-year programme of cheap loans for banks if they promise to increase lending to businesses.

Hollande’s PM Manuel Valls overhauled his government on Tuesday after economy minister Arnaud Montebourg launched an attack on the government’s economic policies as well as what he described as Germany’s “obsession” with austerity.

But Montebourg’s replacement, Emanuel Macron, formerly Hollande’s economic advisor, has faced immediate criticism from French trade unions after suggesting that country’s 35-hour working week should be reformed to allow exemptions from the limit.

"We could authorise companies and sectors, provided there is a majority [union] agreement on this, to have exceptions to the rules on working time and remuneration," Macron said in an interview with weekly Le Point magazine.

Gulen faithful at work in EU capital

Persecuted in Turkey as the alleged authors of the July putsch, the followers of Islamic teacher Fethullah Gulen stay active as ever in the EU capital.

Italy earthquake is test for Renzi

Italian prime minister is expected to present a quick reconstruction plan and request more budget flexibility from the EU after this week's tragic earthquake.

News in Brief

  1. Hungary plans to reinforce border fence against migrants
  2. France's highest court suspends burkini ban
  3. Greeks paid €1bn more in taxes in June
  4. Greek minister denounces EU letter on former statistics chief
  5. Turks seeking asylum in Greece may cause diplomatic row
  6. Merkel becomes digital resident of Estonia
  7. Report: VW will compensate US dealers with €1bln
  8. EU mulls making Google pay news media for content

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. GoogleBrussels - home of beer, fries, chocolate and Google’s Public Policy Team - follow @GoogleBrussels
  2. HuaweiSeeds for the Future Programme to Bring Students from 50 countries to China for Much-Needed ICT Training
  3. EFASpain is not a democratic state. EFA expresses its solidarity to Arnaldo Otegi and EH Bildu
  4. UNICEFBoko Haram Violence in Lake Chad Region Leaves Children Displaced and Trapped
  5. HuaweiMaking Cities Smarter and Safer
  6. GoogleHow Google Makes Connections More Secure For Users
  7. EGBAThe EU Court of Justice Confirms the Application of Proportionality in Assessing Gambling Laws
  8. World VisionThe EU and Member States Must Not Use Overseas Aid for Promoting EU Interests
  9. Dialogue PlatformInterview: "There is a witch hunt against the Gulen Movement in Turkey"
  10. ACCAACCA Calls for ‘Future Looking’ Integrated Reporting Culture With IIRC and IAAER
  11. EURidNominate Your Favourite .eu or .ею Website for the .EU Web Awards 2016 Today!
  12. Dialogue PlatformAn Interview on Gulen Movement & Recent Coup Attempt in Turkey