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European Union/informal meeting of heads of state and government

Published on May 29, 2012
Press briefing given by M. François Hollande, President of the Republic

Brussels, May 23, 2012

Q. – What’s the objective of this summit?

THE PRESIDENT – The objective is to put all the growth proposals on the table; there’ll be many. Everyone must explain their approach and the purpose of their initiatives. No proposal must be ruled out at this stage. I’ll ensure everything is discussed at this European Council so that we can reach a decision by the end of June. We mustn’t waste time.

Q. – Are you worried about the Euro Area and what’s your message to Greece?

THE PRESIDENT – As I’ve said several times, I think Greece has to make an important choice on 17 June and it must be a European one. We must send signals to Greece. France would like the Greeks to stay in the Euro Area and the Greeks must honour the commitments made. At the same time, the Euro Area must show that it’s capable of supporting Greece.

Q. – Since no concrete decision is expected today, in your view what can make this summit a success?

THE PRESIDENT – We’ll see how successful it’s been at the end of June. What, now, could be a good sign at this Council is for us to put everything on the table that we think can raise the level of growth.

Everyone must understand clearly that today the growth forecasts for 2012 are negative. There’s a risk of recession in the Euro Area and for the European Union, and the growth forecasts for 2013 are even more pessimistic.

We have a duty to return to growth quickly. There are long-term measures to be taken, structural reforms, efforts concerning trade and the internal market. We ought to act straightaway because if we don’t develop more measures, instruments and determination to boost growth, we won’t reach the deficit-reduction targets and we risk creating uncertainty on the markets. France’s position is straightforward: we must be in operational order to reduce our deficits, but we must ensure growth, not simply for France but for the whole of Europe.

There you are, thank you./.

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