Published: 08 Feb 2013 17:34 GMT+01:00 | Print version
Updated: 08 Feb 2013 17:34 GMT+01:00
France's President François Hollande on Friday said an EU deal on the bloc's multi-year budget was "a good compromise," but reaction in France has cast doubt over the extent of French gains.
"It was an agreement that as usual was long to produce, but which I believe is a good compromise," Hollande said at the close of a marathon 25 hours of tough talks over the €908 billion budget (a cut of 3%) for 2014-2020.
Speaking at a press conference from Brussels on Friday evening, the French president side-stepped suggestions that the Franco-German alliance had been compromised by German Chancellor Angela Merkel's alliance with a 'victorious' British prime minister David Cameron in the budget negotiations.
"That's an old debate. Let's talk figures," said Hollande.
"The British wanted €885 billion in payment credits. We wanted €930 billion. We ended at €908 billion, so in fact, the British compromised by €23 billion."
Amid French gains, 'worries for the future.'
Analysis has been swift on both sides of the Channel, with Britain's Eurosceptic Daily Telegraph saying the negotiations had left François Hollande looking "weakened and isolated."
In his speech to the European Parliament earlier in the week, Hollande had warned deputies about the dangers of cutting spending.
“Yes, make cuts but weaken the economy, no," Hollande said just days before EU leaders discussed the budget.
Earlier on Friday, European Council president Herman Van Rompuy broke the news of a finalized budget with a tweet.
'France no longer has influence over Europe.'
French popular opinion appeared to be divided in the immediate aftermath of the budget deal. One reader of Le Figaro represented a degree of resentment towards Britain's influence over the negotiations.
"The worst thing is that the British are not really a part of Europe, but profit from all the positive aspects and give lectures."
However, there was an opposing strand of thought which laid the blame on President Hollande, who leads a Socialist government.
One reader commented: “Reason – embodied by Cameron – was the real winner at this summit ... it’s a shame France is so badly represented. France no longer has influence over Europe because it is too weakened by socialism.”
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