Hollande says wants to deepen eurozone economic union
French President Francois Hollande said Wednesday he wanted to deepen the eurozone's economic and monetary integration, as he headed into talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
"We both want to deepen economic, monetary -- and in the future political -- union, to arrive at integration and solidarity," Hollande said before the talks in Paris on the eve of a crucial EU summit to tackle the eurozone debt crisis.
He said the eurozone needed "integration as much as necessary, solidarity as much as possible."
Germany has called for the eurozone to accept closer economic and political integration if the bloc is to move ahead with pooling its debts.
Noting that "many are looking to Europe," Hollande said: "We want to affirm its consistency, its strength, its unity and its solidarity."
Merkel said the two-day EU summit starting in Brussels Thursday will be "of very great importance for the future of Europe."
"The situation is serious and we have an obligation to build a strong and stable future Europe," she said.
"Significant progress has already been made regarding the growth pact," she said, referring to a plan to invest up to 130 billion euros ($162 billion) in kickstarting eurozone economic growth.
"I hope it can be adopted tomorrow," Merkel said.
"We need more Europe, we need a Europe that works, the markets are expecting this, and we need a Europe whose members help each other," she added.
After the brief statement, the two leaders entered the Elysee Palace for talks. No further statements were planned after the talks.
© 2012 AFP