Tuesday

24th Oct 2017

Hollande faces down EU fiscal pact rebels

  • Paris: Hollande has threatened to tear up the treaty during his election campaign (Photo: Moyan Brenn)

France will become the latest country to ratify the EU's fiscal compact treaty after President Francois Hollande faced down his first parliamentary rebellion and saw the agreement passed by a large majority in the National Assembly on Tuesday (9 October).

A bill to adopt the treaty, which enshrines debt and deficit ceilings from the EU's stability and growth pact in national constitutions, was backed by 477 votes to 70.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Two hundred and eighty two Socialist party deputies voted in favour of the deal, sparing the recently-elected President Hollande the embarrassment of relying on opposition centre-right UMP votes to secure a majority.

However, despite pleas from Prime Minister Jean Marc Ayrault to back the deal - which critics say would make it impossible for countries in recession to put in place economic stimulus measures - 45 deputies from Hollande's 315 member socialist/green coalition either opposed it or abstained.

The numbers add up to the largest parliamentary revolt in Hollande's short presidency.

Hollande himself welcomed the result, insisting that "this sweeping majority will give France a bigger voice, that is to say that it will enable us to forge ahead with the rebuilding of Europe that I have committed to since my election."

The bill is now expected to be rubber-stamped by the Senate on Wednesday (10 October).

Hollande had during his election campaign earlier this year promised to tear up the treaty, before backing down and saying the June EU summit had offset the measures by putting in place a €120 billion package to drive economic growth and job creation.

For his part, Andre Chassaigne, the leader of the left-wing opposition faction in the French lower house, praised the rebels who had chosen to "reject the shackles this austerity treaty imposes on the people of Europe."

He added that the treaty would lead France "towards the abyss of recession."

The vote came against the backdrop or rising concern about the strength of the French economy and unemployment, which has hit a 13-year high.

Two weeks ago Hollande announced a budget of tax rises and spending cuts to plug a €37 billion hole in the country's public finances and to bring the budget deficit down to the 3 per cent limit.

Even this figure is likely to require further revision, after the IMF said on Tuesday the French economy will grow by a meagre 0.4 percent this year, well below the 0.8 percent which Paris had expected and on which it based its cuts. 

The fiscal compact is an intergovernmental treaty which was agreed at an EU summit in December 2011, with Hollande's centre-right predecessor Nikolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel among its main supporters.

It is not part of the EU treaty because the UK and the Czech republic refused to sign up to the deal. It will come into force when 12 of the 17 eurozone countries have ratified it.

Thousands protest against French austerity budget

French President Francois Hollande faced his first serious public backlash after up to 50,000 lined the streets of Paris on Sunday in protest against his €37 billion austerity budget.

Hollande proposes €120bn growth pact

Emboldened by a super-majority in the French parliament, President Hollande has put a figure on his EU "growth pact" - €120 billion.

Investigation

The mysterious German behind Orban's Russian deals

Klaus Mangold, a German businessman with good connections in Russia, and who provided a jet for Commission vice-president Guenther Oettinger, played a crucial role in Hungary's controversial Paks nuclear deal with Russia, Direkt36's investigation has found.

Catalan MPs weigh independence declaration

A crucial week is ahead in Catalonia as its leaders decide whether to declare independence - an illegal move according to the Spanish government – or yield to pressure from Madrid.

Italian regions demand autonomy from Rome

The Lombardy and Veneto regions in northern Italy are seeking greater self-determination from the central government following referendum results on Sunday.

News in Brief

  1. May: EU member states will not lose out with Brexit
  2. Slovakia pledges to be 'pro-European' oasis in region
  3. Report: Catalan leader to address Spanish senate
  4. Fiat-Chrysler 'obstructed justice' reports Le Monde
  5. EU presidency 'confident' on posted workers agreement
  6. Young conservatives boot out Erdogan's party
  7. Tsipras urged to let refugees go before winter sets in
  8. Thousands demand justice in Malta

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Martens CentreI Say Europe, You Say...? Interview With EU Commission VP Jyrki Katainen
  2. Mission of China to the EUPresident Xi Jinping Proposes Stronger Global Security Governance at Interpol Assembly
  3. European Friends of ArmeniaEU Engagement Could Contribute to Lasting Peace in Nagorno-Karabakh
  4. UNICEFViolence in Myanmar Driving 12,000 Rohingya Refugee Children Into Bangladesh Every Week
  5. European Jewish CongressBulgaria Applauded for Adopting the Working Definition of Antisemitism
  6. EU2017EENorth Korea Leaves Europe No Choice, Says Estonian Foreign Minister Sven Mikser
  7. Mission of China to the EUZhang Ming Appointed New Ambassador of the Mission of China to the EU
  8. International Partnership for Human RightsEU Should Seek Concrete Commitments From Azerbaijan at Human Rights Dialogue
  9. European Jewish CongressEJC Calls for New Austrian Government to Exclude Extremist Freedom Party
  10. CES - Silicones EuropeIn Healthcare, Silicones Are the Frontrunner. And That's a Good Thing!
  11. EU2017EEEuropean Space Week 2017 in Tallinn from November 3-9. Register Now!
  12. European Entrepreneurs CEA-PMEMobiliseSME Exchange Programme Open Doors for 400 Companies Across Europe

Latest News

  1. EU commission denies May 'begged for help' comments
  2. Interpol needs EU help to stop abuse
  3. Glyphosate protesters hold meeting with Commission
  4. Catalan MPs weigh independence declaration
  5. Russia used Interpol 'loophole' against EU activist
  6. Italian regions demand autonomy from Rome
  7. Populist victory puts Czech EU policy in doubt
  8. The mysterious German behind Orban's Russian deals