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France

Eurozone 'very near' to end of crisis, says Hollande

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Latest update : 2012-10-18

French President François Hollande told European newspapers on Wednesday that the end of the eurozone crisis was “very near” but stressed that decisions on Greece made by EU leaders in June must be implemented "as soon as possible".

French President François Hollande said Wednesday that an end to the eurozone crisis was "very close".

The French leader said in an interview with six European newspapers that EU leaders had established the basis for recovery, with commitments made to cutting the deficit and debt levels at a summit in June.

"We are near, very near, to an end to the eurozone crisis," Hollande said, adding that decisions taken at the last EU summit in June had to be implemented "as fast as possible".

"Firstly that means resolving definitively the situation of Greece, which has made so many efforts and must be assured of remaining in the eurozone."

Favours eurobonds

Hollande added that the EU also had to ensure that other countries, which had made painful efforts to reform their finances, were rewarded with lower interest rates. The French president reiterated that he favoured a partial pooling of debt through eurobonds.

Hollande was speaking to journalists from six centrist and left-leaning European newspapers: France’s Le Monde, Britain’s The Guardian, Spain’s El Pais, Poland’s Gazeta Wyborcza, Italy’s La Stampa and Germany’s Süddeutsche Zeitung.

He stressed the need for Franco-German coherence as the "accelerating" force of the EU. "It can be the brake if it's not in step,” he added.

The French leader also emphasised that he wanted to see progress towards eurozone-wide regulation of the banking sector before the end of the year as a prelude towards greater shared decision-making in all areas of economic and monetary policy.

Deeper union from 2013?

"We can then begin changing our decision-making methods and the deepening of our union. This will be the big area to work on from the beginning of 2013."

But he said France only would support closer political union in the European Union after the 2014 European Parliament elections.

Hollande will join his EU counterparts at the first of three pre-Christmas summits on Thursday.

(FRANCE 24 with wires)

Date created : 2012-10-17

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