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France's Hollande to Focus on Growth Rather Than Austerity


French President-elect Francois Hollande (file photo)
French President-elect Francois Hollande (file photo)
French President-elect Francois Hollande has begun talks with EU leaders on his plans to refocus European policy on growth.

Hollande met with EU President Herman Van Rompuy at the Socialist leader's party headquarters in Paris. There was no statement after the meeting.

Hollande is also set to have talks with the head of the Europgroup of eurozone finance ministers, Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, on Thursday.

The talks are expected to center on the new French leader's promise to reopen talks on the EU's fiscal austerity pact, calling for negotiations on pro-growth measures rather than simply imposing deficit-cutting austerity rules.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said she will not renegotiate the pact, which she spearheaded along with outgoing French president Nicolas Sarkozy.

Hollande's challenge to austerity follows political turmoil in Greece after voters overwhelmingly rejected mainstream candidates supporting unpopular cuts in social spending aimed at securing bailouts to avoid a default.
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