European leaders will be forced to listen to me, warns Hollande
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The Socialist Party frontrunner in France's presidential race, François Hollande, says European leaders will be forced to listen to his views on fighting the debt crisis after he wins office.
In an interview with the German news weekly Der Spiegel, Hollande warned that among the other heads of state “one will have to listen to me”.
Der Spiegel last week reported that several conservative European leaders had struck a pact to snub Hollande because of his declared intention to renegotiate the budgetary discipline pact.
Right-wing leaders of Germany, Britain, Italy and Spain all denied the report.
Hollande told the latest edition of the news weekly that he did not want to renegotiate everything in the pact, signed on March 2 by 25 of the 27 EU leaders in a bid to escape the eurozone debt crisis.
Some aspects of it are "sensible", he said. "But it bothers me above all that there is nothing at all in the fiscal pact about growth," he said, in comments reported in German.
He also expressed "great respect" for German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the German people and said his first foreign trip after winning the presidency would be to Berlin to meet Merkel.
And he denied he had been refused a meeting with the German chancellor before the election, saying that he had let it be known he was ready for such a meeting but there had been "no reaction".
He said he understood that Merkel supported French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who is trailing in the opinion polls, since they "are in the same conservative family of parties".
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