Hollande Says EU Must Prioritize Growth Amid Stagnation

Hollande Says EU Must Prioritize Growth Amid Stagnation

Hollande Says EU Must Prioritize Growth Amid Stagnation

The FINANCIAL -- PARIS -- French President Francois Hollande said Friday that Europe must be flexible on budget rules to prioritize economic growth as the continent is threatened by a prolonged period of stagnation, according to Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

Speaking at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris, Mr. Hollande said economic stagnation was an even greater threat than deflation in Europe. He said the European Union must find ways of boosting investment and that some countries needed to stimulate demand.

Mr. Hollande's comments come as France pushes Brussels to give it more time to get its budget within European rules. But EU officials have warned the European Commission is likely to demand that France amends its budget.

"Rules should be respected, but flexibility should be used so that growth is the priority," Mr. Hollande said.

Speaking alongside Mr. Hollande, Christine Lagarde, head of International Monetary Fund and former French Finance Minister, said that EU rules should be respected, using all their breadth and means of application, according to Dow Jones & Company, Inc.