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Europe

French Socialist Hollande meets Miliband on London visit ... but not Cameron

media French presidential candidate François Hollande with British Labour leader … Reuters/Olivia Harris

French Socialist presidential candidate François Hollande arrived in London Wednesday for a brief visit where he had lunch with Labour leader Ed Miliband and address expats. He says he wants to discuss reorientating Europe with fellow “progressives” and will defend his plans to rein in high finance.

“I am not dangerous,” Hollande told reporters who quizzed him on his call to regulate the markets on arrival at London St Pancras station.

Making a point of speaking English, unlike incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy, he added, “We must have regulation everywhere.”

Hollande  lunched with Miliband and members of the shadow cabinet and held a press conference with the UK opposition leader.

He has said that he is unperturbed at not meeting British Prime Minister David Cameron, who, despite a recent spat with Sarkozy over Europe, wished him good luck at a summit in Paris earlier this month.

In a book published last week Hollande said that the City of London forced Cameron to oppose financial reform.

Hollande’s team hope an international tour will boost his stature as a statesman at home.

But they also hope to pick up votes from the 300,000 to 400,000 French citizens living in London and will meet some of them at a conference at King’s College and at an election rally in the British capital.

Although some French expats work in the City, Hollande hopes that will not put them off voting for him.

“French people here know finance and some of them work in it,” he said at St Pancras. “They know it isn’t regulated. They want to have a finance at the service of the real economy.”

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