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France to contribute 8.0 billion euros to Juncker European growth plan

media French President François Hollande (R) with Luxembourg's Prime Minister Xavier Bettel on Friday AFP

France will contribute 8.0 billion euros to European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker’s plan to boost growth, President François Hollande announced on a visit to Luxembourg on Friday.

European Union leaders approved the outlines of Juncker’s plan to invest 315 euros to kick-start growth but, apart from German’s promise of 15 billion euros and Spain’s of 1.5 billion euros, pledges have been slow in coming.

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"To create an effect of leverage, the Juncker plan must attract other contributions - public contributions and private contributions - and I have announced that France, through the Caisse des dépôts and the Public Investment Bank, will put in eight billion euros," Hollande said on a visit to the country where Juncker was prime minister for 18 years.

European Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen welcomed the French contribution.

"The plan is progressing fast with the commitment of member states and we are confident that the results will start to be visible this summer," he said.

Hollande’s visit was the first by a French head of state for 23 years, “because it’s to close”, quipped Hollande.

Recent revelations that Luxembourg, 30 per cent of whose GDP comes from the finance sector, signed agreements with hundreds of multinationals, including French companies, that allowed them to dodge tax elsewhere were only briefly touched on during the visit.

The Grand Duchy’s Prime Minister Xavier Bettel said that his country was “developing” and had promised to share tax information as from 2017.

“I’m calling on Luxembourg to go as far as possible” on the matter, Hollande said at a press conference on Friday afternoon.

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