Hollande to Sarkozy: EU is not a scapegoat
ADEN - Agence France-Presse
Socialist candidate for the presidential election Francois Hollande greets his supporters prior to delivering a speech during a campaign meeting in Reims, on March 8. ABACAPRESS PhotoThe Socialist frontrunner for the French presidency, Francois Hollande, has blamed French President for making the EU a “scapegoat,” after Nicolas Sarkozy took a surprise new eurosceptic stand.
“When I offered to discuss the intergovernmental agreement on strengthening budget discipline in the Euro region, [Sarkozy] criticized me. This agreement was not even approved. But he wants to cancel both Schengen and other EU agreements,” said Hollande in Paris on March 11.
Sarkozy threatened to pull France out of the Schengen open borders agreement and demanded the EU adopt measures to fight cheap imports, warning that France might otherwise pass a unilateral “Buy French” law, at a March 11 rally. But the left was quick to attack what they saw as a populist stunt. “I felt I wasn’t listening to a French president, because a French president always wants to build Europe, push it forward. This was a conservative British prime minister,” said Hollande’s campaign manager Pierre Moscovici. Moscovici said Britain had led opposition to the Schengen accords - under which most EU members agreed to abandon border controls between the states - and said Sarkozy’s threat was a “phenomenal step backwards.”
From the far left, presidential candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon scorned what he dubbed a late conversion to euroscepticism from a leader who had hitherto demonstrated a “particular case of European servility.” On the far right, Marine Le Pen and her National Front have gone further than Sarkozy in demanding that France quit the euro and close its borders.