France - Britain

British opposition leader Miliband in Paris talks with Hollande

Reuters/Olivia Harris

Britain's opposition Labour leader Ed Miliband on Tuesday become the first senior British politician to be received in Paris by French President Francois Hollande.

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Britain’s Conservative Prime Minister has not yet visited Hollande at the Elysées Palace.

Cameron declined to meet Hollande when he visited London on a presidential campaign stop, feeding speculation that he hoped fellow right-winger Nicolas Sarkozy would see off the Socialist challenger.

Dossier: Eurozone in crisis

Miliband, met first with French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, and told reporters after his talks with Hollande that they had discussed the crisis in the eurozone and agreed that Europe urgently needed economic growth.

"Since he took office, President Hollande has been seeking to move this debate in Europe, and the debate internationally, towards a Europe... that is growing again," he said.

"And I think that is a clear point of agreement between us," added Miliband.

David Miliband shares the the new French president's belief that the emphasis in efforts to resolve the crisis should switch from the austerity of recent years towards trying to boost growth.

Hollande and Cameron sought during a visit to Britain by the French president earlier this month to laugh off the rocky start to their relationship.

The warm welcome for Hollande, including a guard of honour at the Foreign Office with lines of soldiers in bearskin hats and red tunics, came after months of frosty relations between the French and British leaders.

Economic issues have been the greatest stumbling block, underlining the ideological differences between Cameron's focus on austerity and Hollande's commitment to boosting growth through spending.

 

 

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