France: Opposition may delay EU budget treaty

PARIS - France's imminent election campaign could throw the newly agreed EU plan for budget policy coordination into disarray, the French budget minister said on Sunday, warning that President Nicolas Sarkozy's opponents may stall necessary legislation.
"Speed is vital to restore confidence," Valerie Pecresse told Europe 1 radio. "France has to set the example. It has been at the origin of this treaty with Germany and it would be a paradox if it was blocked for three months because there is a presidential election. This is a call for national unity."
Socialist Francois Hollande, leading the challenge to the Sarkozy at April's presidential election, opposes Sarkozy's proposal to write a requirement to balance the state budget - a so-called "golden rule" - into France's constitution.
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