Russia’s increased presence in the region — which began raising eyebrows in the US three months ago — represents one of its largest sustained naval deployments since the Cold War, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.
In a two hour press conference at the Elysee Palace, Mr Hollande announced a string of new initiatives including a four point plan for rapid progress towards a more federal Europe.
“It is my duty to extricate Europe from its slump and reduce the disaffection of its peoples which threatens the very future of the European Union,” Mr Hollande said.
He said that he would demand the creation of an “economic government” for the Eurozone which would meet every month to discuss ways of promoting growth. He would push for a “political union” - a step towards a federal state - in the wider EU within two years. The French president also called for the harmonisation of EU taxes and a “European energy policy”.