David Cameron To Meet With Francois Hollande At G8

Entente Cordiale? Cameron To Meet Hollande

David Cameron is to hold his first face-to-face talks with Francois Hollande as they join world leaders in the US for a G8 summit set to be dominated by the eurozone crisis.

The Prime Minister has expressed confidence he will find "common ground" with the new socialist French president who swept to power on a promise of putting growth before austerity.

Mr Cameron has said that while he would do "whatever it takes" to shelter the UK from the fallout of the Greek debt crisis, the coalition's tough deficit-reduction strategy would stay.

But in an eve-of-summit article he put action to promote growth at the head of a wishlist of results from the gathering - and said he would push for new trade deals to achieve it.

Success at the G8 required "frank discussions on the issues that matter most for our security and prosperity" including "the resolve to return our own economies to strong and sustainable growth".

"We must renew our joint efforts to support growth, financial stability and energy security," he wrote on the Politics Home website amid mounting fears of a break-up of the single currency. And we must work together to give the world economy the one big stimulus that would really make a difference: an expansion of trade freedoms. So I will be pushing for progress on the trade deals that the EU is pursuing with three of our G8 partners: Japan, Canada and the US."

Measures agreed under the stymied Doha round of global trade talks to cut border red tape for goods should also be implemented and protectionist measures cracked down on, he is expected to say. He mentioned the Greek crisis only in passing, noting that a "stable and successful eurozone is an essential part of supporting the global recovery".

On Thursday night, he took part in what Downing Street said was a "constructive" conference call involving Mr Hollande, German chancellor Angela Merkel and Italian prime minister Mario Monti.

Number 10 said he used the call - also with European Council president Herman van Rompuy and EU Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso - to call for "decisive action" by the eurozone nations. They are all attending the G8 summit hosted by US president Barack Obama at the Camp David retreat along with the leaders of Japan, Russia and Canada.

Mr Cameron will sit down with his French counterpart in Washington for talks ahead of the full-scale discussions on how to prevent the eurozone crisis spiralling into a global disaster. On their agenda will also be Afghanistan - with the Prime Minister expected to press Mr Hollande about an election pledge to withdraw its 3,400 troops from the country this year.

The meeting comes after David Cameron said survival of the European single currency is in question, creating "huge risks" for Britain's economy.

He promised to do "whatever is necessary" to keep Britain safe if the euro falls apart.


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