France Challenges Germany Over Budget Leeway

Not surprisingly, the French want lots of slack


BRUSSELS: French President Francois Hollande raised the prospect of a showdown with Germany at a European summit Thursday, calling for more room in budgets to help stimulate growth in a challenge to Berlin's faith in tight fiscal controls.

Arriving at the two-day meeting, where discussion will focus on economic policy and the social fallout from three years of debt crisis, Hollande said it was essential that governments had enough budget flexibility to kick-start growth with spending.

That is unlikely to sit comfortably with Germany, which is concerned that any straying from the path of deficit cutting will increase the debt burden and stir financial market turmoil.