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Euro crisis 'behind us': France's Hollande

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(OSLO) - French President Francois Hollande said Monday in Oslo that the eurozone crisis was "behind us," as he lauded work the European Union has done to "resolve the problems."

"The euro crisis, I've said it before, is behind us. We've given Greece the funds it was waiting for. In Spain we've helped keep the banks afloat. In Italy, even if there's political uncertainty, I'm sure the Italians will address it," Hollande told journalists in Oslo.

He spoke after the Nobel Peace Prize was presented to the European Union.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel was not so sure however, telling the broadcaster RTL in an Oslo interview: "I cannot lift the alert completely, I am a prudent optimist."

Merkel has cautioned several times already that it was too soon to declare the crisis over.

But for Hollande: "What we have to do is not simply exit the eurozone crisis: that's been done."

He added that after "six months of trying to solve problems," the focus had to shift to delivering growth, boosting employment and improving confidence among young people.

Asked about Italy, where Prime Minister Mario Monti has announced that he will resign and elections are expected to be held early next year, Hollande was upbeat.

"I am convinced that what has happened in Italy will allow Italy to find a stable government after the elections in February. And I felt that there was no despondency in Monti but, by contrast, a desire to commit to his country," the French president said.

"I don't know what role he wants to take, and it's not for me to say. But I found that he is mobilised rather than disarmed," Hollande said of Italy's prime minister.

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