France

Socialist Party spokesman Hamon slams Merkel over austerity policy

Benoît Hamon in 2009
Benoît Hamon in 2009 Reuters

French Socialist Party spokesman Benoit Hamon sharply criticized German Chancellor Angela Merkel in a televised interview on Sunday saying she must understand that she alone cannot decide the fate of Europe. 

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“We did not vote to have a European Union president who is called Angela Merkel,” he said on France 3 public channel when asked about socialist President François Hollande’s desire to renegotiate the eurozone’s fiscal pact.

“We want to renegotiate the European treaty so that economies are relaunched through growth,” he said, adding that it is the austerity measures that Merkel argues are so essential to underpin Europe’s eventual recovery that have pushed the Greek economy to the edge.

Dossier: Eurozone in crisis

Hamon belongs to the left wing of the Socialist Party and is not considered to be close to Hollande.

Hours after being sworn in as president on Tuesday, Hollande will fly to Berlin for talks with Merkel.

The meeting between the leaders of Europe’s economic powerhouses will be closely watched by EU partners and by financial markets.

Hollande admitted last Thursday that the two do not yet have positions that are converging, but the president’s transition chief, Pierre Moscovici, said on Saturday he was confident there would be a compromise over the issue of boosting growth in the eurozone.

Ideas raised at the talks are expected to be developed at an informal EU dinner summit on 23 May with a possible growth deal to be announced at the fully-fledged EU summit on 28-29 June.
 

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