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Closer EU union 'only after 2014': Hollande

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12:10 CEST+02:00
President François Hollande said on Wednesday that France would support steps to closer political union in the European Union only after 2014 elections to the European Parliament.

Hollande said in an interview with Le Monde and five other newspapers that political union would only come after these elections and added: "The stakes of this consultation will be the future of the EU."

Hollande said that an end to the crisis in the eurozone was "very close", claiming that EU leaders had established the basis for recovery with the commitments made to cutting deficit and debt levels at a summit in June.

"It is now our duty to apply them rapidly," he said. 

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

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

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.

"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."

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

"The stakes of this consultation will be the future of the EU," Hollande said.

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