European centre-left leaders have held informal talks in Paris just days away from a summit which could decide who heads the next EU Commission.
French host President Francois Hollande and Italian premier Matteo Renzi are rumoured to be pushing for a loosening of the EU’s tough budget rules in exchange for their support for European Commission centre-right candidate Jean Claude Juncker.
French President Francois Hollande said: ‘‘Our main priorities are growth and job creation using all the room for and flexibility that we have within the so called Fiscal Stability Pact.
Holland added:’‘ We will also simplify Europe, make it more democratic and control immigration in a way which is consistent with our values and principles.’‘
France and Italy, which are struggling to meet their fiscal targets, argue the current deficit rules are choking off economic recovery.
But even with the offer to back Juncker, both Paris and Rome face an uphill battle convincing Germany. Berlin remains opposed to any softening of the current fiscal set-up.