• France edition
 
Hollande launches veiled barb at UK's Cameron
French President Francois Hollande adresses the European Parliament on Tuesday. Photo Patrick Hertzog

Hollande launches veiled barb at UK's Cameron

Published: 05 Feb 2013 11:27 GMT+01:00
Updated: 05 Feb 2013 11:27 GMT+01:00

Referring to Cameron's recent pledge to hold a future in/out referendum on the European Union, Hollande told deputies at the parliament in Strasbourg that Europe had to be for the good of all member states.

"It cannot be just a group of nations picking and choosing what would be useful for them and them alone. I argue for a differentiated Europe not a two-speed Europe, or Europe à la carte". he said.

Hollande's words echoed those of the French government in the aftermath of Cameron's much-publicized referendum promise last month.

Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius had warned the UK that when it comes to Europe, it's all or nothing.

"Imagine the EU as a football club. When you join it, you are in. You cannot just decide to go and play rugby," Fabius said.

During his 30-minute speech on Tuesday, the French president also warned against making drastic cuts to the EU's trillion-euro budget for 2014-20, at the expense of growth.

"Yes, make cuts but weaken the economy, no," Hollande said  just days before EU leaders discuss the budget.

A bad-tempered November summit failed when several member states, led by Britain, called for sharp budget cuts at a time when all governments were having to reduce spending so as to balance the public finances.

Hollande had warned at the weekend that "the negotiations are very difficult ... the conditions are, at this moment, not yet in place" for an accord at the summit in Brussels on Thursday and Friday.

During his  speech the president also laid out his vision for the future of Europe.

"Europe can not just be a financial market, a budget, or money," said the president. "Europe is not only a collection of treaties or a set of rules, as necessary as they might be. "

Hollande insisted that France was committed to the European project, an economic and social model "envied on all other continents," but the debt crisis meant that many people were losing faith, putting national interests first.

"The eurozone crisis is to a great extent behind us but the challenge today ... is the mistrust of our people," he said.

Against this backdrop, EU could not simply adopt tough austerity policies - "France will not accept that," he said - and so had to ensure that core spending remained in place to promote vitally needed growth.

AFP/The Local (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Paris: Thousands march in pro-Palestinian demo
Thousands of protesters hit the streets of Paris to oppose Israel's Gaza incursion. Photo: Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP

Paris: Thousands march in pro-Palestinian demo

Thousands marched through Paris on Wednesday to denounce Israel's ongoing assault on Gaza amid tight security. The demo passed off peacefully with many protesters expressing their anger with the French government for not doing enough to halt the bloodshed in the Middle East. READ  

Lawmakers back redrawn map of France
French lawmakers have approved a redrawn map of France. Photo: Philippe Huguen/AFP

Lawmakers back redrawn map of France

Legislation that would redraw the map of France won overwhelming support on Wednesday from the country's lower house, the National Assembly. It's part of a plan reduce France's costly and cumbersome bureaucracy. READ  

Paris: Security beefed up for pro-Palestinian demo
Riot police will be out in force on Wednesday for the pro-Palestinian protest. Photo: Pierre Andrieu/AFP

Paris: Security beefed up for pro-Palestinian demo

Police chiefs in Paris are taking no chances on Wednesday with the latest pro-Palestinian rally taking place in the city. Hundreds of police are on duty to keep the peace. The Local will be tweeting live from the demo. READ  

Tête-à-tête - Part 1
'Foreigners in France should not get the vote'
Should foreigners be able to vote in France's local elections? Photo: Boris Horvat/AFP

'Foreigners in France should not get the vote'

France's president reignited an age-old row recently when he vowed to fight to give foreigners the vote in France. In the first part of our tête-a-tête we hear from a French mayor; who says France would be abandoning part of its sovereignty if foreigners were able to cast ballots. READ  

'Disastrous' economy claim riles Hollande
French business leader Pierre Gattaz's glare at the French president tells a story. Photo: Philippe Wojazer/AFP

'Disastrous' economy claim riles Hollande

French president François Hollande has taken umbrage after the leading voice of France’s business community described the country’s economy as “disastrous” this week and called for an end to the flagship 35-hour week and 75 percent tax rate. READ  

Tour de France stage 17: Pole Rafal Majka wins
Stage 17 of the Tour de France will see some tought climbs for the riders. Photo: Screengrab LeTour.fr

Tour de France stage 17: Pole Rafal Majka wins

Stage 17 of the 2014 Tour de France was won by Rafal Majka on Wednesday after 124.5km punishing ride through the Pyrenees. Yellow jersey holder Vincenzo Nibali extended his lead over his rivals. READ  

Immigration system
French test plan for long-term visa applicants
Anyone seeking a long-term visa in France in future will have to swat up on their French. Photo: Tim Green/Flickr

French test plan for long-term visa applicants

New legislation unveiled on Wednesday aims to shrink the bureaucratic hurdles foreigners who want to stay in France face and provide a glimmer of hope for asylum seekers languishing in limbo. But anyone wanting to get a ten-year visa would need to be able to read French. READ  

EU says Ryanair owes France €9.6 million
Ryanair has been ordered to refund millions in subsidies to local French authorities. Photo: Paolo Margari/Flickr

EU says Ryanair owes France €9.6 million

Low-cost airline Ryanair received nearly €10 million in illegal government aid and now must pay the money back, the European Commission said on Wednesday. It's another costly blow for Ryanair after a French court ordered it to stump up €9million in damages last year. READ  

VIDEO: Stuntman jumps onto moving Paris metro
A Paris stuntman's video of him jumping onto a moving train has gone global. Photo: Screengrab/YouTube

VIDEO: Stuntman jumps onto moving Paris metro

A video featuring a thrill-seeking acrobat named “Mister Puma” risking his life by jumping onto the roof of a moving metro train in Paris has proved a global hit. But it's just his latest crazy feat on the Metro. Watch some his death-defying stunts here. READ  

French court rules no halal meals in prison
A French prison will not be forced to serve up halal meals after all. Photo: John Moore/AFP

French court rules no halal meals in prison

A controversial ruling that ordered a French prison to serve up halal meals to inmates was overturned by a court in Lyon this week in the latest issue to pit the country's secular tradition against Islamic practice. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
VIDEO: Stuntman jumps onto a moving Paris metro... and survives
Gallery
Forget 'faire l'amour', here's 15 top French expressions for making love
National
Report - 'Anti-Semitic' riots in France: 'We may leave for Israel'
National
IN IMAGES: Two Paris anti-Israel demos descend into violence
National
Paris Plages: Here's 10 reasons to head down to the city beach
International
'Mont Blanc is like Disneyland. It's time to end the free-for-all'
Travel
Fancy climbing Mont Blanc? Here's 10 reasons to think twice about it
Travel
Sun's up: Temperatures in parts of France could hit 40°C
National
VIDEO: Jewish 'ultras' and anti-Israel mob in running street battle in Paris
International
Middle East crisis: 'Jews in France are stand-ins for Israeli targets'
Culture
IN PICTURES: Bastille Day fireworks mark centenary of the 'Great War'
Gallery
Looking for a weird museum in Paris? Here's 10 that are worth a visit
National
Clear your head: Eight tips for buying wine in a French supermarket
National
'Don't blame the labour market for France's unemployment woes!'
National
Job applicants in France: Be prepared to send in an anonymous CV
Sport
'I've never seen scenes like it' - Tour de France winner on the UK crowds
Sport
'Bouligans' to booze bans: Ten things you need to know about pétanque
Gallery
Driving in France: How to stay out of trouble on the roads
Travel
Ten essential free phone apps for a visit to Paris
Gallery
Like cycling? Love France? See the top ten best cycling routes in France
International
'They think beer is a vegetable': What the French really think of Germans
National
Sarkozy's dream of a 2017 comeback is not dead yet
Gallery
Ten reasons why France is better than Germany (we're not talking football)
Sponsored Article
CurrencyFair: Why it pays when making overseas transfers
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se