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6th Aug 2021

French left 'disturbed' by alleged anti-Hollande plot

  • Hollande: 'There are parts of this treaty we can accept, but we won’t accept sanctions that are against countries' interests' (Photo: Francois Hollande)

Allies of centre-left French presidential candidate Francois Hollande have spoken out against a reported pact by centre-right EU leaders to harm his image.

Hollande campaign chief Pierre Moscovici told German broadcaster RTL on Sunday (4 March) it is unacceptable that centre-right leaders in large EU countries have until now declined to meet his boss: "I call this conservative pressure, which is unprecedented in the history of Europe, and I find it irritating and disturbing."

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A fellow Parti Socialiste MP, Jean-Christophe Cambadelis, told France's Europe 1 radio: "Angela Merkel has gone too far ... The hostility of the [German] chancellery has little chance of hearing a positive echo from our compatriots. She is taking a great risk."

The remarks come after German magazine Der Spiegel earlier the same day reported that German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and the UK's David Cameron made a verbal agreement with incumbent French President Nicolas Sarkozy to snub Hollande ahead of the 22 April elections.

Even Hollande's opponent, far-left presidential candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon, came out on his side, telling Europe 1: "The battle is taking place at a European level. The conservatives are closing ranks to try to defend their frontline in France ... They have every reason to be fearful. They are about to get the lesson they deserve because I think France will expel Nicolas Sarkozy."

Pollster LH2 at the weekend predicted that Hollande will beat Sarkozy by 16 points in the second round in May.

For his part, Hollande told the France 3 network on Sunday he still aims to renegotiate the new intergovernmental treaty on fiscal discipline, signed by Sarkozy and 24 other EU leaders in Brussels on Friday.

"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," he said.

"I do not know if this [Der Spiegel] information is accurate ... [But] it's not the European leaders - whom I respect by the way - who will influence the decision of the French people," he added.

The German and French governments have officially denied the secret pact.

"He is trying to invent a plot when there is simply a lack of credibility," Sarkozy spokeswoman Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet told Reuters at the weekend.

Merkel in February openly pledged to back Sarkozy "in anyway I can ... no matter what he does."

Her coalition partner, German Liberal party foreign minister Guido Westerwelle, also gave credibility to the Spiegel report on Sunday in separate comments in the Welt am Sonntag newspaper. "I would advise all German parties to show restraint ... The party political conflict in Germany should not be exported to France," he said.

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