It was May 2012 and the newly-elected President François Hollande was attending his first European Union summit. Speaking to journalists he defended the broad outline of his growth pact and acknowledged disagreements with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. In particular, he noted, they differed on the idea of Eurobonds, a way of spreading the load of European debt to relieve the pressure on those states under attack from the markets. The French head of state had made this one of his priorities.
Hollande went further. He did not rule out revisiting the way European meetings were conducted, judging them “too long”, and offered some veiled criticism for certain long-winded heads of state who “take half the night” to outline their positions. At the time the president was intervening to fight against the exclusively austerity-led approach of the German ...
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