François Hollande flexed his political muscles last night at the European Union summit in Brussels with a call to action to support European countries such as Euro 2012 finalists Spain and Italy in their time of financial crisis - which may need swift action to mitigate the impact on their citizens.
Angela Merkel reiterated there would be no collective pooling of debt but the German and French leaders did agree a financial package of 120bn euros should be advocated, which the European leaders signed up to.
These funds will be used to support those counties on shaky financial ground.
The eurozone appears on the path to greater integration with a banking union discussed, as was one of Hollande’s pledges for France, tackling youth unemployment. There is now a 60bn euro fund targeted towards this across Europe.
Hollande and Merkel put their differences aside to state they were united on austerity and ‘one Europe’ where everyone helps each other, but are divided on how this is best achieved. Merkel also stated she would not “give Europe her credit card without guarantees”.
Spain and Italy are likely to look to Hollande to challenge Merkel’s strict austerity methods of handling the EU economic crisis; Hollande, true to form, issued policy proposals for the summit which focused on a growth and jobs pact. The EU summit in Brussels gave an opportunity for the leaders of Germany, France, Italy and Spain to discuss common issues before a full EU summit next week.
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Today in Florence, meanwhile, the centre-left Socialists & Democrats Group in the European Parliament are launching their new initiative, “Relaunching Europe: Our alternative vision for the future – Institutions, Democracy, Citizenship”, focusing on the fundamental construction of the European project. There will be more on this on Left Foot Forward next week.