Thursday

18th Jan 2018

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.

Catalonia prepares for rule by Skype

The two biggest parties in Catalonia have vowed to put Puigdemont back in office despite Madrid's threat to maintain direct rule.

Catalonia prepares for rule by Skype

The two biggest parties in Catalonia have vowed to put Puigdemont back in office despite Madrid's threat to maintain direct rule.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Solutions for Sustainable Cities: New Grants Awarded for Branding Projects
  2. Mission of China to the EUTrade Between China, Belt and Road Countries up 15%
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersOresund Inspires Other EU Border Regions to Work Together to Generate Growth
  4. Mission of China to the EUTrade Between China, Belt and Road Countries up 15%
  5. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Calls on EU to Sanction Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, Expel Ambassadors
  6. Dialogue PlatformRoundtable on "Political Islam, Civil Islam and The West" 31 January
  7. ILGA EuropeFreedom of Movement and Same-Sex Couples in Romania – Case Update!
  8. EU2017EEEstonia Completes First EU Presidency, Introduced New Topics to the Agenda
  9. Bio-Based IndustriesLeading the Transition Towards a Post-Petroleum Society
  10. ACCAWelcomes the Start of the New Bulgarian Presidency
  11. Mission of China to the EUPremier Li and President Tusk Stress Importance of Ties at ASEM Summit
  12. EU2017EEVAT on Electronic Commerce: New Rules Adopted

Latest News

  1. Next year's EU election at risk of Russian meddling
  2. Hungary to tax NGOs that 'help' migration
  3. Cyprus, Malta, and Russia gang up on whistleblower
  4. 'No backsliding' on Brexit promise, Irish PM warns
  5. Commission and council dig in on GMO opt-outs
  6. Ombudsman asks ECB chief to quit secret bankers group
  7. Polish Nazi-jibe MEP 'spams' EU inboxes
  8. Macron eyes France-UK border agreement