Hollande warns Cameron not to hijack EU Summit



French President Francois Hollande has warned David Cameron not to hijack this week's European Union summit with excessive demands on cuts in the EU budget while refusing to make concessions.

In his address to the European Parliament, Mr Hollande said the 2014-2020 EU budget of some €1 trillion (£860.8bn) was open to some savings but insisted the leaders at Thursday's summit should not compromise innovation and shared sectors like farming.

A November (Xetra: A0Z24E - news) summit ended in failure when Britain led opposition against proposals for a new seven-year EU budget.

"I have been told a solution cannot happen with Britain. But why should one country decide for 26 others? Indeed we could have agreed at the last European summit," Mr Hollande said.

"In order to let people say that this failure was a victory, we let it happen."

In several remarks that could be seen as targeting Mr Cameron , Mr Hollande said "there are those who want to see cuts, others - possibly the same, who want guarantees on their own rebate".

Mr Hollande also chided Mr Cameron for a recent speech where he pledged to renegotiate its relations with the EU and questioned the fundamental philosophy of the EU.

Mr Cameron also promised to settle the "European question" forever with a referendum on Britain's EU membership by the end of 2017.

The French president said the EU was "a project where we cannot keep on arguing about what is already there and calling everything into question at every step".

He said it was "a commitment in which everyone accepts the balancing out of rights and obligations, where the rules are abided by, where confidence creates solidarity".

Thursday will mark the first summit meeting since Mr Cameron's Europe speech at the end of last month.

He did, however, applaud Cameron for his support for France's intervention in Mali, where French and Malian troops are reclaiming vast areas from jihadists and other rebel groups.

Elsewhere in his speech, Mr Hollande called on government leaders to agree on a target for the currency's exchange rate over the medium-term, warning that the rising currency may deepen the recession.

"The eurozone must, through its heads of state and government decide on a medium-term exchange rate," he said.

“We can’t let the euro fluctuate according to the mood of the market."

He added that the exchange rate should not be set artificially but that the eurozone should act on global markets to protect its interests.

The euro’s founding treaty gives governments the power to set “general orientations” on exchange rates, as long as this doesn’t interfere with the Frankfurt-based central bank’s control of inflation.

The euro bought $1.3533 this afternoon, close to the 14-month high of $1.3711 reached on February 1 amid confidence that the debt crisis is coming to an end.

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