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French cabinet greenlights EU financial treaty

French cabinet greenlights EU financial treaty
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France has kickstarted ratification of the EU Fiscal Pact, but Francois Hollande’s government remains deeply divided on the move.

The cabinet has given initial approval, which paves the way for votes in the Assembly and Senate. French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault has called for parliament to unite and approve it.

“Europe cannot go forward without France. Our voice is important, and when it is united and firm it is even stronger,” Ayrault said.

However, there is a lot of vocal opposition to the treaty and the increased austerity measures it will bring.

Senate Member Jean-Vincent Place said it was not right for France: “More austerity, more rigorousness, which is not going to be sustainable. These are not the real issues. The treaty should have been renogatiated.”

Spearheaded by Germany’s Angela Merkel, and agreed by Hollande’s predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy, the inter-governmental treaty will see member states commiting to deficit reductions and facing fines if they do not balance their budgets.