Hollande promotes growth plan during Athens visit

French President Francois Hollande met with Greek PM Antonis Samaras in Athens on Tuesday in order to discuss the debt crisis. He also spoke about the situation in France, where the economy would most probably grow less than initially projected.

The French leader offered the distressed country support and stressed the importance of stimulating growth in the Eurozone. "We must make sure that growth and jobs come back in Greece," he said. "We need more growth in Europe. That's how we'll reach our public deficit reduction goals."

Hollande acknowledged that the French growth target, established at 0.8%, would not be reached and announced that a more realistic projection would be put forward at the end of March, at the same time as a budget plan for 2014 will be presented, according to the European Commission´s guidelines.

The French President´s visit has not been covered by the Greek media as journalists went on strike. The Greek government accused the opposition of organizing the strike so that the event would not receive due attention.

Rehn: Distressed EU countries might be given more leeway to meet deficit targets

European Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs Olli Rehn said today that budget deficit targets for those EU countries where economy is deteriorating significantly could be loosened, as long as they continue implementing structural reforms.

Spain might find itself among these countries as the European Commission expects the country to register a 8% deficit in 2012, 6% in 2013 and 6.4% in 2014, far from the established limits of 6.3%, 4.5% and 2.8%, respectively.

Speaking before the European Economic and Social Committee Olli Rehn added that “if growth deteriorates unexpectedly, the country may receive extra time to correct its deficit provided it carries out the necessary structural reforms aimed at boosting growth and sustainability in the medium term.”

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