On the eve of a eurozone summit that will consider a unified continental budget, French President Francois Hollande said that his half of the Paris-Berlin crisis team will insist on an easing of German leader Angela Merkel’s hard push for “austerity and the surrender of national powers to tighten fiscal discipline,” The Guardian reports.

In an interview with the paper, Hollande called on eurozone leaders to lower borrowing costs for Spain and Italy and assure Greece of its continued inclusion in the union. He dismissed the German proposal for a federalized eurozone. Hollande was not all criticism, however. He was careful to emphasize the need for ”coherence” between the two nations driving the response to the crisis.

— Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

The Guardian:

Interviewed by the Guardian and five other European newspapers from France, Germany, Spain, Italy and Poland, Hollande also called for monthly meetings of the national leaders of the 17 eurozone countries to end the cycle of “so-called ‘last-chance’ summits”, which he said in the past had led only to “fleeting successes”.

He said domestic electoral considerations should not get in the way of solving the euro-crisis. Merkel “is very sensitive to questions of internal politics and to the demands of her parliament. I understand that, and can respect that. But we all have our own public opinion. Our common responsibility is to put Europe’s interests first.”

France’s first socialist president for 17 years also rejected the idea that Germany was the only nation putting its hand in its pocket for everyone else.

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