WASHINGTON - British Prime Minister David Cameron and new French President Francois Hollande clashed on Friday over the need for a financial transactions tax to fund growth but played down other differences over how to respond to the euro zone debt crisis.
Both leaders said after a first 35-minute meeting at the British ambassador's residence in Washington that they backed measures to cut deficits and spur growth in Europe, glossing over differences between Hollande's pro-growth stance and Cameron's emphasis on reducing debt.
But Cameron said he would maintain his staunch opposition to a tax on financial transactions that Hollande backs as a way to raise revenue to boost growth.
"On the financial transactions tax, I'm very clear, we are not going to get growth in Europe or Britain by introducing a new tax that would actually hit people as well as financial institutions," Cameron told reporters before his meeting at the elegant ambassador's residence, designed by famous British architect Edwin Lutyens in the 1920s.
"I don't think it is a sensible measure. I will not support it," he said.