* Hollande raises spectre of renegotiating European accord
* Socialist says deficits won’t come down without growth
* Sarkozy wants mid-2012 ratification
By Brian Love
PARIS, Dec 12 (Reuters) - French Socialist Francois Hollande said on Monday that he would seek to renegotiate the terms of the latest euro zone rescue plan if elected president next year.
European leaders agreed in Brussels on Friday to draft a new treaty for deeper economic integration and tougher budget discipline, with near-automatic sanctions for those whose deficits overshoot.
“Without economic growth we will achieve none of the targets on deficit reduction,” said Hollande, who said the accord was insufficient both as a short-term answer and a long-term solution to the continent’s sovereign debt crisis.
The deal seeks to end almost two years of turmoil in financial markets. Hollande’s promise to challenge it irked the conservative UMP party of President Nicolas Sarkozy, who hopes the tricky process of ratification across the region will be wrapped up by shortly after mid-year.
Hollande is ahead in opinion polls for the two-round presidential election next April 22 and May 6, although his lead has narrowed in recent weeks as Sarkozy has striven to make progress on the euro rescue plan.
Sarkozy, one of the main instigators of the European summit accord, has yet to declare his intentions but is widely expected to seek re-election and face Hollande in the deciding second round of the contest.
If Hollande wins, Socialist Party spokesman Benoit Hamon said, “we are not going to seek the ratification of a treaty we did not negotiate, and which we think makes for more crisis than there was already.”
The Socialists engaged in similar sabre-rattling back in 1997 when they vowed to renegotiate Europe’s deficit-control rules, known as the stability pact, if they won power.
They did, but the renegotiation ultimately boiled down to a semantic one. The deal was re-labelled as the stability and growth pact, in a nod to the need for economic expansion alongside fiscal rectitude.
Parliamentary elections take place in the weeks after the May presidential result. The Socialists hope a Hollande election win will create the momentum needed to secure control of parliament in June.