France to push growth and investment at EU summit
PARIS, June 24
PARIS, June 24 (Reuters) - French President Francois Hollande is urging European Union partners to launch joint initiatives to boost growth and investment at a Brussels summit starting Thursday, his office said.
Renewing a longstanding French push to focus the 28-member bloc towards growth, he called for investments in key sectors including energy, transport, telecommunications, innovation and training worth around 240 billion euros ($326 billion), or roughly 2 percent of the region's total output.
"The idea is to do everything to promote growth," an official in his office said on Tuesday, summarising the contents of a letter issued by Hollande to his counterparts ahead of the meeting.
France remains officially committed to bringing its public deficit down to below an EU-mandated level of 3 percent of output by next year but wants the EU's rules governing deficits to be interpreted flexibly so as not to hinder growth.
According to Le Monde daily, which published the letter in its entirety, Hollande will urge a plan of "enhanced fiscal and social convergence" based on measures such as an EU-wide minimum wage and welfare rights.
Paris will also call for a debate on how the single-currency euro zone can avoid policies which "prolong the situation of weak inflation". ($1 = 0.7357 Euros) (Reporting by Gregory Blachier; Writing by Mark John; Editing by James Regan)
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