Friday, October 5, 2012

France begins debate on EU austerity treaty

The French parliament Tuesday opened a difficult debate on an EU fiscal pact that is key to efforts to overcome the eurozone debt crisis but which critics slam as austerity forced by Brussels.

The National Assembly debate comes after tens of thousands of left-wing protesters marched through Paris on Sunday denouncing EU-imposed belt-tightening, although they insisted they were not criticising the government of Socialist President Francois Hollande.

Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault set the tone, saying France would not be sacrificing its "sovereignty" by ratifying the text.

"The treaty itself imposes no constraints on public spending," he said. "It does not specify how it should be distributed. It does not dictate the methods one has to take to balance public finances.

"Fiscal sovereignty will remain with parliament," he said. Read More