PARIS (Reuters) - French president-elect Francois Hollande will meet European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and Eurogroup head Jean-Claude Juncker in Paris this week before his trip to Berlin to discuss adding growth elements to Europe’s fiscal compact.
Van Rompuy will meet the Socialist leader later on Wednesday and Juncker will meet him on Thursday, diplomatic sources and officials within Hollande’s campaign team said.
“He will tell (Juncker) we need to get away from this focus on austerity which Europe is getting stuck in and which leads to stagnation,” Jean-Marc Ayrault, head of the Socialist bloc in parliament and tipped as a possible prime minister under Hollande, said when asked about Hollande’s meeting with Juncker.
“He will tell him the same thing he told the French during the election campaign, nothing else,” he told reporters.
Hollande, who won Sunday’s presidential election as voters punished Sarkozy for economic gloom, wants to launch an immediate challenge to German-imposed austerity policies in Europe after he is sworn in on May 15.
He is calling for negotiations to add pro-growth instruments such as project bonds to the budget responsibility treaty agreed by European Union leaders in February.
Juncker, head of the Eurogroup of euro zone finance ministers and also prime minister of Luxembourg, said on Monday he had made it clear to Hollande in a telephone call that he could not renegotiate the fiscal pact.
“What isn’t okay is completely reopening the agreed fiscal treaty,” Juncker told German broadcaster ZDF. “It will not be possible to change the substance of the fiscal pact, there will not be a formal new negotiation in that respect.”
“But it is possible to add growth elements, not necessarily in the form of a treaty,” he said. “And that is an issue that is somewhere in the pipeline.”
Van Rompuy was also due to meet with outgoing President Nicolas Sarkozy on Wednesday, officials at the presidential palace said.
Reporting by Daniel Flynn and Yann le Guernigou; Editing by Louise Ireland