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EU’s Rehn ‘Amazed’ by Hollande’s Criticism of Brussels

Frederick Florin | AFP | Getty Images

European Commission's economic chief, Olli Rehn, said on Friday he was "amazed" that France had criticized his team for recommending reforms while Paris also proposed more economic coordination for the euro zone.

France's President Francois Hollande on Thursday pledged to carry out economic reforms but added it was up to Paris, not the European Commission, to determine how they are implemented.

(Read more: Germans Irked, Hollande Says EU Cannot Dictate French Reforms)

Hollande, together with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, have also proposed that the 17-nation euro zone should appoint a full-time president and hold more frequent summits to coordinate economic policy.

"I'm slightly amazed how France on one day underlines the need for euro zone economic governance and on another it criticises the Commission for giving well-grounded recommendations," Rehn, the EU's economic and monetary affairs commissioner, told a seminar in Helsinki.

(Read more: EU Gives France Leeway as It Reprimands Belgium)

He later told reporters he was open to any criticism, and added he believed the French leader was committed to reforms.

"President Hollande visited Brussels a few weeks ago, and we had a constructive discussion about wise fiscal policy and necessary structural reforms. My (view) is that he is very committed to reform the French economy," Rehn said.

(Read more: French Central Bank Chief Urges Spending Cuts)

Unveiling reform recommendations for European Union countries on Wednesday, the Commission urged France to rein in public spending, revamp pensions and cut labour costs in return for a two-year reprieve on budget deficit targets.

Rehn added on Friday he expected the countries with reprieves would "utilise their breathing space efficiently to strengthen economy and employment".

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