Hollande locks horns with Juppe in TV debate

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Hollande locks horns with Juppe in TV debate

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French presidential candidate Francois Hollande ended yesterday’s day of campaigning with a tense televised debate with Foreign Minister Alain Juppe.

Hollande fended off criticism of his pledge to re negotiate a European pact on budget discipline if he came to power, from President Nicolas Sarkozy’s trusted lieutenant.

“Just because you were not capable of striking a good deal,” said Francois Hollande. “Just because you were not able to convince the Germans to change the mode of intervention of the Central Bank, just because you were not capable of dealing with the issues of the European monetary fund, you think you should stop your possible successors from achieving that.”

Juppe’s response was to say, “there will be proposals, by France and by Germany which will talk about growth measures. See on Monday, you will have them.”

Earlier Hollande and the Socialist party launched a 60-point plan to eradicate France’s annual budget deficit (by 2017). At its heart is a tax hike for the rich and banks.

Although Sarkozy still hasn’t declared if he will stand for re-election, Hollande is determined to become France’s first Socialist president in 17 years.