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Hollande wants new economic treaty

French presidential front-runner Francois Hollande will ask other European leaders to renegotiate a treaty aimed at reducing debts across the continent if he is elected.

Mr Hollande said he would send a letter the day after the May 6 election to other leaders with a proposal for a "growth pact" to add to the existing treaty, which focuses on tightening budgets.

He wants the pact to include jointly issued euro bonds to finance infrastructure projects.

Mr Hollande has also promised to intervene with companies to avoid mass redundancies and said he will rein in the financial world if he wins.

Conservative president Nicolas Sarkozy is fighting to stay in power but polls suggest that he will lose the election runoff to the Socialist Mr Hollande, who has railed against Mr Sarkozy's budget cuts and promised new government spending.

Mr Hollande pressed his agenda again, playing to public fears about jobs and anger at bankers and ratings agencies who are widely blamed in France for the financial crisis and worsening the country's economic prospects.

French media have reported that Mr Sarkozy's advisers are pressing company executives to avoid announcing big job cuts during the presidential campaign, and predict a wave of losses after the election.

Responding to these fears, Mr Hollande said that "before any irreparable decisions are made, I should intervene."

He said he would try to avoid a parade of redundancy announcements and that company executives would have "responsibilities to take."

He did not elaborate on how he would avoid job losses or name any particular companies.

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