EU welcomes Hollande's commitment to Europe
The European Commission welcomed Friday French President Francois Hollande's "deep commitment" to Europe and looked forward to seeing promised proposals to boost the flagging EU.
"We hail the deep committment of France and the French authorities to Europe," a European Commission spokesman said of Hollande's comments Thursday that he would take the initiative to end Europe's "lethargy" and promote a closer political union within two years.
It is "fundamentally positive" that the French authorities are so engaged in the debate about the European Union's future, especially in the run-up to EU elections next year, spokesman Olivier Bailly said.
"France and the European Commission share the same ambition for a more united and integrated Europe, politically and economically," Bailly said.
The EU will "wait to see what specific proposals" France will make as the bloc seeks a way out of the worst economic slump in years, he said.
The Commission, the EU's executive arm, will present its own proposals ahead of the 2014 polls, he added.
In a wide-ranging press conference Thursday, Hollande said that "if Europe does not advance it will fall or even be wiped out from the world map
"My duty is to bring Europe out of its lethargy," he said.
With his first year in power devoted to "defending our sovereignty and putting our economy back into shape," the second would be marked by an "offensive" to kickstart the economies of France and Europe, the president said.
© 2013 AFP