Tags: hollande | growth | eu | summit

Hollande Wants Frank Talk on Growth at EU Summit

French President Francois Hollande said on Monday he wanted all options discussed to stimulate growth in Europe when EU leaders meet later this week, but declined to comment on his proposals to issue joint euro zone bonds to avoid upsetting partners.

"I am not preparing this summit for conflict. I want to give Europe a growth dimension," Hollande told reporters at the end of the NATO summit in Chicago. "Everything will be on the table."

Growth proposals are expected to include boosting the paid-in capital of the European Investment Bank and plans for 'project bonds' underwritten by the EU budget to finance infrastructure. The aim is to agree on ideas that can be formally signed off at the next summit of EU leaders on June 28-29.

The victory of Hollande's socialist party in French elections earlier this month has not only shifted the euro zone crisis debate towards growth, it has also given renewed impetus to ideas that German Chancellor Angela Merkel has pushed aside in the past, including debt mutualisation.

After a difficult few days at the G-8 where Merkel was on the back foot, Hollande appeared to be a bit more conciliatory in his closing remarks in Chicago.

"I won't speak about euro bonds, as I don't want to upset anybody," he said.

Hollande added that Wednesday's informal meeting would be a first step in the hope of coming to a common euro zone agreement on growth by the end of June.

Hollande declined to comment on France's position on German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble heading the Eurogroup forum of eurozone finance ministers. Earlier this week a German magazine said Hollande had reservations about Schaeuble's appointment.

© 2015 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

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