France's left split on fiscal pact vote

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France's left split on fiscal pact vote

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The focus in the French National Assembly was Europe with the first reading of the European Union fiscal pact which was agreed by EU leaders in March.

But the agreement which requires eurozone countries to slash their public deficits or face sanctions has highlighted divisions in the political left and potential problems for President Francois Hollande.

“Formally, you will be asked to vote on the ratification of the Treaty, but through the vote I’m asking you to show your support for the new European path,” said Jean-Marc Ayrault, French Prime Minister.

The prime minister has argued Hollande’s credibility will be damaged if he has to rely on votes from the right-wing opposition to pass the pact. He wants the left united in one voice but its reported 13 socialists are set to vote against and two abstain with others it is said are wavering.

“This treaty includes some strong conditions in terms of structural reforms, for the countries in need of help that will result in just one thing: they will confirm a division between a Europe of the rich and a Europe of the poor, and we will not get rid of this crisis,” explained Mathieu Hanotin a socialist MP

On Sunday thousands took to the streets in Paris to protest at the fiscal compact which was first agreed by then President, Nicolas Sarkozy.

Many fear it could lead to tough economic times in a country where unemployment is running at a 13 year high.