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EU crisis times over: Hollande

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(BRUSSELS) - The times of crisis and confusion for the European Union are over, French President Francois Hollande said Friday.

Asked what he hoped for in 2013, Hollande said he wanted to see "a more united Europe, stronger, which believes in itself and does not present its difficulties to the world.

"That period is over," he said as he went into a summit of EU leaders. "We did a lot of good work this year and that allows us to be confident for 2013."

Hollande said the EU had made a lot of progress in fixing the underlying problems of the debt crisis which has sapped growth and sent unemployment soaring.

EU leaders have agreed the setting up of a single supervisor for the eurozone banks, the first step towards a key "banking union", and urgently needed bailout funds for Greece have been released, he noted.

For the longer-term, the 27 EU leaders asked European President Herman Van Rompuy to report back again in June on an ambitious blueprint for greater economic and political integration to bolster the bloc's foundations.

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