Welcome to the new version of European Tribune. It's just a new layout, so everything should work as before - please report bugs here.

On "Hollande-bashing"

by Ted Welch Wed Oct 17th, 2012 at 03:35:03 AM EST

hollande-bashing

Recently I was discussing Hollande with an English friend who was somewhat critical of him, saying that he hadn't really had much experience: "What has he done?". The media have been attacking Hollande and his government for not having done anything:

Hollande-bashing-de-2012

They had become used to Sarkozy's mistaken (his view) hyperactive style.

 I think the media's encouragement of emphasis on personality is unfortunate (as with Assange), most important is what group he belongs to and what they stand for. Sarkozy made what group he really represented all too clear the night of his election, with the party at Fouquets and his holiday on a billionaire's yacht (see below for contrast with Hollande - his bedroom in Tulle). Even a French President can't do much by himself and must represent the mainstream of his party and their policies. 

front-paged by afew


Sarkozy acknowledged, 3 months before the election, that his hyperactive approach had been mistaken,  and he should have been a bit more "distant and solemn":


Sarkozy: "La principale erreur a été de penser que j'étais encore ministre. Ministre, il faut de la réactivité, de l'instantanéité. Lorsqu'on devient président, à côté de cette réactivité, il faut aussi distance et solennité."

http://www.rue89.com/rue89-presidentielle/2012/03/28/sarkozy-la-principale-erreur-ete-de-penser-que- jetais-encore  

But he was still mistaken in suggesting that a minister should react immediately; ministers too ought to take a strategic view and avoid knee-jerk responses to problems, even if the media are demanding action.

However, if we do focus on individuals, Hollande is not "nul" as Sarkozy said:

http://elections.lefigaro.fr/flash-presidentielle/2012/03/23/97006-20120323FILWWW00637-sarkozy-holla nde-est-nul-presse.php

It's true that Hollande hasn't any experience of government (except local) - but that's what happens when a party is out of power for some time; however he did run a major party for 11 years (see below).

Major qualifications for the job of president are intelligence and an ability to get on with a wide range of people.

Hollande is clearly a very bright  guy (and won the debate with Sarkozy), you don't get into HEC and ENA unless you are very bright. Hollande was also a very young professeur at the prestigious Sciences-Po and a young member of the Cour des Comptes (ENA tudents who come in the top 15 of their year get to choose their first jobs and Cour des Comptes is one of the top choices):

"a quasi-judicial body of the French government charged with conducting financial and legislative audits of most public institutions and some private institutions, including the central Government, national public corporations, social security agencies (since 1950), and public services (since 1976). The Court is essentially a cross between a court of exchequer, comptroller general's office, and auditor general's office in common-law countries." Wikipedia

Pretty good training for running the country's finances.

"That same year, Jospin became the Prime Minister of France, and Hollande won the election for his successor as First Secretary of the French Socialist Party, a position he would hold for eleven years."  Wikipedia 

Now that alone is to do something (politics is a profession) and running a big Left-wing group like that, prone to factionalism and ideological differences is not easy:

 Hollande has had experience at a high level: 

"Because of the very strong position of the Socialist Party within the French Government during this period, Hollande's position led some to refer to him the 'Vice Prime Minister '".  Hollande would go on to be elected the Mayor of Tulle in 2001, an office he would hold for the next seven years." Ibid

But chance plays its part and he was on the losing side on an important issue: "Hollande's support for the ill-fated "yes" position in the French referendum on the European Constitution caused friction within the party." ibid

 A similar thing happened to Villepin, he was seen as likely 2007 presidential candidate, but he tried to introduce the CPE contract:

"During the protests, Villepin was widely perceived as stubborn and arrogant. As a consequence, his popularity rates went down rapidly and he was no longer regarded as a serious contender for the 2007 presidential election." Wikipedia

But Hollande did win the election at Corrèze, remote, yes, but no less a person than Chirac was in power there:


"Hollande was parachuted into Corrèze shortly after his mentor, François Mitterrand, was elected in 1981. Socialist doyen Jacques Delors, later president of the European commission, had refused the seat and Hollande's chances of beating the incumbent MP, former prime minister Chirac, were very slim.

Chirac, who dismissed the ambitious young man as "less well known than Mitterrand's labrador", however, was wrong to patronise and underestimate him. Hollande took his rival's criticism, turned it into a vote-winning slogan and got himself elected.

It was the start of what was to be a long and loyal relationship between him and the rural department that adopted him. He has served as Tulle's MP and mayor, and in local elections in 2008 succeeded in overthrowing Sarkozy's UMP party's control of the Corrèze department's general council to become its president."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/apr/22/francois-hollande-france-election

Copé later lied that Hollande was responsible for the growth of spending and the number of civil servants, but fact-checkers showed that this was due to the UMP in previous years and the 2008 budget had been set by them before Hollande took over:


"quand Jean-François Copé parle d'une augmentation de la dette de 110 millions d'euros, il choisit un intervalle qui l'arrange (2007-2011) et mélange les époques : les deux premiers budgets ont été votés sous la précédente majorité UMP. 'Notre responsabilité est de 63 millions sur 363 millions', réplique la majorité actuelle du conseil général, '17% pour nous, 83% pour la droite'."

http://www.liberation.fr/politiques/01012399503-cope-pas-vraiment-carre-sur-la-correze

Back to personality; Hollande's personal style is in marked contrast with Sarkozy's Fouquets style, for which Sarkozy struggled to apologise later:  

"Nicolas Sarkozy qui bute sur les mots. La séquence est peu habituelle. Jeudi soir, sur France 2, le président candidat est au bord du bégaiement lorsqu'il évoque l'épisode du Fouquet's. 'Si je.... franchement... Mais bien sûr, si c'était à refaire, je ne repartirais pas, reviendrais pas dans ce restaurant puisque ça a été vraiment le le "feuilleton" ', déclare t-il péniblement au 20h de David Pujadas."

http://www.europe1.fr/Politique/Fouquet-s-Sarkozy-est-embarrasse-961017/

hollande-sarkozy

Cf.:


"The bedroom where he (Hollande) sleeps, however, is out of bounds. Rumour that it is as ascetic and simple as Hollande himself - boasting a plain iron bedstead, an ancient television set, a couple of spare suits, shirts and ties, a few books and little else - are true, said Claudine Heiderich, Hollande's assistant.

"He doesn't stay in a hotel, he stays here. It's not at all a luxury room, far from it, that's not his style. It's very simple, true to the sort of man he is," she told the Observer.

Owner Marco Monzauge points out the horseshoe-shaped leather banquette underneath a flat-screen television where Hollande sits on Saturday mornings when he is in his constituency.

"That's his table; he comes in with his croissant and his newspaper for a coffee," Monzauge said. "He is very well liked around here because he's so normal, so approachable.

"We'll be sorry not to see him. It would be nice to think he would still come in for a coffee, but perhaps not as president. I wouldn't want to have to clear the place."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/apr/22/francois-hollande-france-election

Let's remember also that he won the debate with Sarkozy. I watched it with a Parisian friend who said before it that he was apprehensive because Sarkozy is a smart politician. But Hollande clearly won - and improvised (apparently) an impressive anaphora:


"It is not often that the word anaphora leaps into the news but François Hollande helped make that happen this week.

At the end of his bravura performance against right-wing incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy in the French presidential debate on Wednesday, Hollande responded to a question about what kind of president he would be by rhyming off a list of promises.

The Socialist candidate began every goal with the phrase, "Moi, Président de la République" to enumerate how he would be different from Sarkozy, while saying he would respect the French people and remain attentive to their concerns.

In one of the most memorable segments of the two-hour 50-minute debate, he repeated the phrase at least 15 times in a three-minute recitation to pound home his message and draw a contrast with the outgoing president.
...
opinion polls showed that most French who watched the televised debate (almost 18 million people) felt that Hollande was the most convincing of the two candidates.

Sarkozy earlier boasted that he would "blow apart" his rival, whom he had ridiculed as a "nobody" lacking experience.

But Hollande, once nicknamed "Flanby" for his soft pudding face appearance (before he went on a diet), more than stood his ground.

He aggressively took on Sarkozy, known for his skillful use of demagoguery, at every turn."

http://malcolm-curtis.com/2012/05/04/anaphora-takes-center-stage-in-french-presidential-debate/

the-economist-hollande

We'll now have to see what he and his government can do - they didn't inherit a good situation (like Obama) and have limited options, but it's clear that he and his party are far more likely to do what is good for the majority rather than for the rich, like Arnault, richest man in France, who just happened to be a witness at one of Sarkozy's weddings. 

Recently there has been a clamour in the French media that Hollande and his government have done nothing since being in office and Hollande's popularity has plummetted. I think this is ridiculous, it seems as unreasonable as expecting a captain of a cruise liner to turn it in a few metres. As one commentator says:

"Hollande deserves credit for remaining within himself, avoiding blunders, and mostly eschewing cheap effects. To be sure, he has kept campaign promises, some of them costly and of dubious merit, but the bashing would be worse if he hadn't."

http://artgoldhammer.blogspot.fr/2012/09/hollande-bashing.html

Cf.:


"The current François Hollande's strategy should not surprise anybody insofar as the socialist candidate stated during his presidential campaign the first part of his term would be focused on the re-equilibrium of the public accounts, which supposes a policy mainly targeted on the reduction of the deficits, paying attention to some sectors (as education, public services or security) are not affected both. This is a long-term and a needed policy to get some concrete results. Such a policy, constraining and ungrateful, is not impressive and even painful, which probably explains the impatience of some Frenchs the national press is looking for relaying, which explains the "Hollande bashing".

http://actupol30english.wordpress.com/2012/09/06/the-hollande-bashing/

 Laurent Joffrin points out that, the Right, having complained that Hollande and co were doing nothing, now complain that they're doing things:


"La Droite ... 'C'est horrible, disait elle, le gouvernement ne fait rien !' Nouvelle chanson depuis deux semaines: 'C'est horrible, le gouvernement fait quelque chose !' "   

Le Nouvel Observateur 11.10.2012

Display:
Thanks Ted... not an easy job.
Personally I think Ayrault is faltering or foundering as Prime Minister, and that's Hollande's main problem. The PM has to be in the front line,.

I guess Hollande needs a better communications director or whatever : it's part of the job to be visible and comprehensible (have a simple narrative), and that isn't going well.

There are plenty of ministers doing good stuff, they are not all blowing their own trumpets.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Mon Oct 15th, 2012 at 05:58:03 PM EST
One can only surmise that M. Hollande picked him so as not to have the chance to be outshone by someone capable and strong, like Martine Aubry.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill
by r------ on Tue Oct 16th, 2012 at 07:38:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm starting to realise how bitterly I regret that she lost the primary.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Tue Oct 16th, 2012 at 08:54:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not talking about Aubry as PM (which is not completely impossible, in a year or so), but as President. Not that I would have expected miracles, but she would certainly have gone head to head with Merkel on certain issues.

And that would certainly feel good.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Oct 17th, 2012 at 04:43:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
All of that is true -nevertheless his policies are much too far to the right.

Now, I am not present in the international meetings and therefore am not aware of what threats he is under. It might be that what he does really is the best option available. However, we're still going to have a major fiscal contraction in the middle of a depression, and a version of the "Golden rule" massively voted. With the fear that the subsequent failure of the economy will help bring back the crazy right in power.

That's not a particularly pleasant prospect.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Tue Oct 16th, 2012 at 02:42:41 AM EST

"All of that is true" - that's a relief - but I feel a "but" coming on ...:-)

"nevertheless his policies are much too far to the right." I agree, I'd have preferred Mélenchon personally, but we're not the average voter and I think if his policies were much more to the left then he wouldn't be in power.


Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.

by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Wed Oct 17th, 2012 at 07:35:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
All of that is true -nevertheless his policies are much too far to the right.

To think you were on Bayrou's camp 5 years ago, and now you find a Socialist president too far to the (economic) right...

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Oct 17th, 2012 at 09:17:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Bayrou's program was to the left of Hollande (whose environmental program was... nonexistent) in many respects, but he wanted to implement the golden rule, during a liquidity trap to boot.
That made it a non starter for me to vote for him.

Hollande said he didn't want it. Then he did it anyway.

Amittedly, I like marriage for gays better than a civil union that is identical in all but name (which was Bayrou's proposal), so in that respect it's to the left indeed.

Also, the situation was somewhat different in 2007. I don't advocate the same policies in each situation. Alas, parties don't tend to adjust to situations all that much.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Wed Oct 17th, 2012 at 09:53:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
To some extent I'm just making a comment on how different the world was 5 years ago...

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Oct 17th, 2012 at 12:29:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah, OK -I guess typing while on the phone doesn't help noticing nuances.
Yes, the world, but also, I feel, the politicians. The switch to the right is something we often discuss, but it is nothing short of shocking.
In many countries, arithmetics has become a far-left position.

Actually, I might use that as a signature at some point.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Thu Oct 18th, 2012 at 03:50:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Shameless plug from afew's diary a month ago:

Bernard:

A big part of the "not doing anything" perception is also due to a withdrawal syndrome among the talking heads and the press columnists.

With Sarko, they've  had a five years non-stop 24/7/365 show: every day, another idea, another discourse, another announcement, another antagonism, you name it. It didn't matter that it was mostly hot air and little action (Sarko's concrete achievements list is quite short: tax cuts for the rich, dig the deficit, blame the darkies/Roma/Muslims for every ill that ails the nation).

This is why Christophe Barnier and his ilk are squealing: where is the show? (And how are we going to justify our 6-7 figures salary?)

by Bernard on Tue Oct 16th, 2012 at 02:46:51 AM EST
Link to afew's diary:

http://www.eurotrib.com/story/2012/9/18/62952/0997

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.

by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Tue Oct 16th, 2012 at 10:50:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If Hollande and Ayrault don't communicate, the right isn't going to pass up the opportunity to fill the empty media space. There is now a nonstop campaign which is having its effect on public opinion.

Not many people would like to see Hollande behave like Sarkozy. But there is some distance between Sarko's obsessive media control and Hollande's quasi-absence (not helped by a non-combative PM). Both Hollande and Ayrault need to step up their presence. Perhaps they might then persuade people they actually have clear policy objectives. For the moment, it looks as if they're in a soggy right-of-centre swamp with little idea of how to get out. This government having been billed as a government of rapid action, the (impression of?) inaction and lack of leadership is murderous.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Oct 16th, 2012 at 04:32:40 AM EST
afew:
Perhaps they might then persuade people they actually have clear policy objectives.

Between the politically impossible and the economically impossible there is not much space for clear policy these days.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Wed Oct 17th, 2012 at 06:37:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]

But then there are those assessments in the two quotations before the final one from NO.

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.
by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Wed Oct 17th, 2012 at 07:42:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This being said, to date, I think he's been either mising in action (still waiting on action on the so-called licenciements boursiers), too ready to compromise (remember, he has majorities everywhere) on things like tax policy, actually reneged on an historic promise and a very big deal (the treaty) and on the diplomatic front has been very weak (the treaty being the prime example).

Alas, Jean-Luc Mélenchon is correct, the PS was less ready to govern than the FdG.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Tue Oct 16th, 2012 at 07:34:31 AM EST
...I think he's been either mising in action..., too ready to compromise (remember, he has majorities everywhere) on things like tax policy, actually reneged on an historic promise and a very big deal...

I am struck by how readily this statement, with slightly different specifics, could apply to Obama's first term.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Oct 18th, 2012 at 01:28:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It seems to me that France is very similar to the US, much more than a lot of the other UE countries. That's why I've always been surprised by the hostility from some US people against France.

I remember Irak in 2003, and the insults from some US newspapers, while none of them spotted that France was behaving exactly according the US isolationnism tradition...

France and the US have developped a theology of the state action, the US to save the world, and France to (pretend to) be the most advanced and civilised country on the earth... ;-)

In both cases, these two countries are absolutely insufferable, except when they forget their national legends and just behave like everyone else... And this is having some influence on the behavior of individuals from both countries, me excepted of course ;-)

by Xavier in Paris on Thu Oct 18th, 2012 at 07:12:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It seems to me that another area of marked similarity between the two countries is the degree to which 'individuality/individualism' is prized in each country.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Oct 19th, 2012 at 12:15:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Right. We also have a strong anti-government streak, very apparent theses days, allied with a need for "grandeur", which is quite similar to the republican's view of a government reduced to its army.

We also have got 10 years of fight against crime legend, which told us of an ever growing crime scene, of fear for criminal actions, and of the heroic fight of police against crime, while lefties were only happy to free blood covered criminals again.

More earthlike, we live in suburbs, have Wisteria lane for model, have a dislike for strangers, and an everlasting regret for the small (middle west) rural town that modernity took away. We have a cult for cars, higways and the like. We work in office centers away from our homes, we drive to Wallmart-like giant supermarkets (Carrefour, Auchan, Leclerc, Casino, Intermarché, Lidl...), we go to "family village" for the we, eat "happy meals" have kids named "Kevin" or "Dylan"...

There's something like 7000 supermarkets, 250 bn€ revenue... for only 60 millions inhabitants. The classical european culture is not accessible for a large part of the population...

Paris popular suburb:

Paris: north eastern boroough

Paris, western corporate suburb

Paris, northern subway station arrival

All images from the "Parisbanlieue" blog

by Xavier in Paris on Fri Oct 19th, 2012 at 08:53:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, but an orange and a tennis ball are both round and about the same size, but I wouldn't advise trying to peel and eat the latter :-)

Some significant differences according to an American living in France:

  1.  The French vote - 85% of them vote!  And the French fight for what they want with strikes and demonstrations.  The Americans don't vote - only about 55% of them vote, even for Presidential elections.  Not since the 1960′s to the early 1980′s (my generation) have the Americans fought for change and a better country. We have become remarkably apathetic and willing to take whatever crap is dished out.  While I do get irritated with the amount of demonstrating the French do, I do admire it to some degree and wish Americans did more of it.
  2. Americans, for the most part, take personal responsibility for their failures, sometimes to the extreme. They will blame themselves if their business or career fails or if anything goes wrong - "I made bad choices', `I should have done this or that,' `I should have cut costs,' `I should have chosen the other job, ` `it must be my fault if I got laid off with a 1000 other people' etc.  The French blame everyone and everything else for what goes wrong. I've yet to hear a French person apologize for anything, even when it was blatantly clear it was their fault.
  3. Customer service is valued in the U.S. and it is a goal of every business. Customer service is almost nonexistent in France.
  4. The French think they have it much worse than they do, and the Americans think they have it much better than they do.  The French like to complain and criticize everything.  It's kinda the national pass time (this is an observation coming from my French friends, by the way).  Americans continue to think they have the best society, the best economy, the best standard of living, the best medical system in the world, even if the objective evidence does not support that belief.  We believe it because it's what's been fed to us since childhood.  And because of that belief, we are unwilling to change our system, such as health care, to better our country and to support our middle class.  The French think they don't have as much as they should have in the way of support from the government or their employers, when in reality they probably have one of the best systems and benefits of any country in the world.

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/travelblogs/982/119868/25+Major+Cultural+Differences+Between+France+and+ America



Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.
by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Fri Oct 19th, 2012 at 01:36:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'll try an answer:
6.Do you compare your voting turnout at local or federal elections?
Because, in France and in most of Europe, local and national elections have a relatively high turnout, but european one do not. And in France we have a high turnout for presidential elctions only: turnout for the last congress vote was only 60%.
7.I'm french, so maybe I'm not qualified to answer here.
And I don't personnally know that much US citizens.
My comment above was more on the line of comparison through the media, with all the limitations implied.
8.OK
9.Yes and no: we also have a tendency to regard any country richer or more powerful than ours as a perfect model in any domain. I could point the countless remarks on finish educational system, that is very often given as an example to ours, or the swedish social model... and Germany, of course! (I believe that there is a complex feeling still existing toward the victor of the 1940 blitz campaign. I'm usually joking it out by saying that only those who would have not fight back against the invader are admiring Germany today. I actually find Germany very close to France, but not a model.)

On another note: I've just finished watching "God Bless America", and I could find a french equivalent to almost ALL the victims... ;-)

by Xavier in Paris on Sat Oct 20th, 2012 at 06:47:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, I'm French too, and I've spent a number of years in the United States, and I'll tend to side with the American expat in France: it matches my own experience and observations. Yes, at first glance, there are quite a few similarities between the two countries, but also major differences, not only with France but the whole of European countries.
by Bernard on Sun Oct 21st, 2012 at 04:02:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
At last!

Hollande fires warning shot at Merkel over austerity on eve of EU summit | World news | guardian.co.uk

François Hollande, the French president, has warned for the first time that the Paris-Berlin motor driving Europe could stall over deep differences on how to resolve the euro crisis, insisting on a climbdown by Angela Merkel in her emphasis on austerity and the surrender of national powers to tighten fiscal discipline.

Giving the Guardian his first British newspaper interview since becoming president in May, Hollande said there was light at the end of the eurozone tunnel, but he also:

  • suggested Merkel was too preoccupied with domestic politics in her response to the crisis
  • demanded Berlin reverse its opposition to decisions taken by eurozone leaders in June
  • called on the eurozone to act promptly to bring down the costs of borrowing for Spain and Italy
  • insisted Greece be assured of staying in the eurozone
  • gave short shrift to a German push for the creation of a federalised eurozone or political union
  • and dismissed as unfounded the strong German criticisms of the recent moves on the crisis by the European Central Bank.

While the Franco-German relationship was the driving and "accelerating" force of the EU, Hollande said, "it can also be the brake if it's not in step. Hence the need for Franco-German coherence."

Hollande's remarks on the eve of a crucial EU summit in Brussels highlighted the extent of the gulf between Paris and Berlin and the deep divisions within the eurozone almost three years into Europe's worst ever crisis.



It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Wed Oct 17th, 2012 at 07:41:15 AM EST
From Eurointelligence (e-mail briefing):

Francois Hollande gave interviews to six European newspapers, Le Monde, La Stampa, Gazeta Wyborcza, Süddeutsche Zeitung, El Pais and The Guardian.

One day ahead of the EU summit Hollande maps out his vision for Europe. Asked about the kind of Europe he supports, Hollande says he's for a Europe "advancing at different speeds, with different circles", the new Euro-"realism" as coined by Le Monde.

On several issues though, Hollande goes on confrontation course against Germany, echoed by the German press: Instead of  Schäuble's proposal, granting the Commission a veto-right for national budgets, Hollande favours monthly meetings of the heads of state ("let's end these so-called last-chance summits") and the reinforcement of the Eurogroup, Hardly hidden is also his criticism of Germany's reservation to a common banking supervision to start in January 2013:  "It has not escaped my notice that those who are most eager to talk about political union are sometimes those who are most reticent about taking urgent decisions that would make it inevitable."

Then Hollande renewed support for Eurobonds, rejected by the German government. He also did not spare a comment on Germany's surpluses, calling for surplus countries like Germany to raise salaries to help stimulate demand, in the name of European "solidarity". Finally, he disputes the Germany's view on the importance of deficit reduction, saying "Recession threatens us more than deficits."

Hollande also made clear that Greece should be assured of eurozone membership and given the financing it needs by year end "without it being necessary to inflict new conditions other than those which have been agreed by the government of Samaras", the FT  quotes from the interview. He called for the eurozone rescue funds and the ECB to use their ability to intervene on sovereign debt markets. He said Spain should be given "precise conditions" for gaining access to rescue fund financing as agreed at the June summit without further "weighing down the ship" with new conditions.

Overall, welcome communication and welcome points raised.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Oct 18th, 2012 at 03:37:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm encouraged that he's not letting Merkel off the hook with respect to the June agreements.

I'm starting to think that Germany needs is a short sharp recession, to focus the collective mind.

Hollande fires warning shot at Merkel over austerity on eve of EU summit | World news | guardian.co.uk

Hollande insisted that the so-called "banking union" had to be finalised by the end of the year. He is demanding a German climbdown on the issue at the summit on Thursday and Friday.

Echoing calls by the Spanish and Italian governments for German support to bring down the costs of their borrowing in the bond markets, Hollande said they should be able to finance themselves at "reasonable" rates, and added it was unfair some eurozone countries were borrowing at 1% and others at 7%.



It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Thu Oct 18th, 2012 at 03:52:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]

I welcome your welcome - the boy done well :-) Give him time. As I write, though, a critical report of "gaffes" by members of the gov on France24 - well, good news is not news for the media.

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.

by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Thu Oct 18th, 2012 at 05:26:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hi Ted, this is a very nice diary. I do not agree with everything Hollande has done (notably the Energy Policy), but his way of dealing with the European Council has been magisterial. He manages to keep low profile negotiations while forcing Merkel one step further each summit. He'll never make good on his promises regarding the fiscal compact, but the way he is taking is far more pragmatic.

You might find me At The Edge Of Time.
by Luis de Sousa (luis[dot]a[dot]de[dot]sousa[at]gmail[dot]com) on Fri Oct 19th, 2012 at 06:15:15 AM EST
This is a made in Nice diary :-)

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.
by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Fri Oct 19th, 2012 at 11:36:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]


Display:
Go to: [ European Tribune Homepage : Top of page : Top of comments ]

Top Diaries

Smudges

by Oui - Sep 23
9 comments

2034

by Frank Schnittger - Sep 10
5 comments

Faux Accompli

by Cat - Sep 14
14 comments

Civic Self Defense Resources

by gmoke - Sep 19
1 comment

Recent Diaries

Smudges

by Oui - Sep 23
9 comments

Civic Self Defense Resources

by gmoke - Sep 19
1 comment

Faux Accompli

by Cat - Sep 14
14 comments

2034

by Frank Schnittger - Sep 10
5 comments

The Focus Group

by THE Twank - Aug 31
10 comments

Labour grows up?

by Frank Schnittger - Aug 27
57 comments

Exhibit 1

by Cat - Aug 22
22 comments

EU Position Papers

by Cat - Aug 22
25 comments

PACER

by Cat - Aug 18
5 comments

More Diaries...