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Jun 6, 2012

Euro zone crisis tests Hollande’s credentials

PARIS (Reuters) – When Francois Hollande waded into the euro zone debt crisis after taking office as French president, his push for a new focus on growth over austerity was widely welcomed, except perhaps in Berlin.

Two weeks later, ballooning bank woes in Spain and political turmoil in Greece have taken the debate to a new level that has left Hollande in deeper water than he imagined and will test his political and diplomatic skills to the full.

May 29, 2012

Hollande set for slim parliament win

PARIS (Reuters) – The presidency under its belt, France’s Socialist Party is set to beat the conservative UMP in June parliamentary elections but may fall short of a majority strong enough to give President Francois Hollande a completely free hand to pass legislation.

Internal divisions in the UMP since Nicolas Sarkozy lost the presidency this month are compounding the likelihood of it losing its majority in the National Assembly (lower house), nine months after it lost the Senate (upper house) to the left.

May 25, 2012

Hollande makes surefooted start before assembly vote

PARIS (Reuters) – Socialist President Francois Hollande has defied critics who considered him an inexperienced lightweight by starting with a burst of globetrotting activity and standing up to Berlin and Washington on euro and foreign policy.

Placid and slow-paced by nature, Hollande has packed in visits to Berlin, Washington, Camp David, Chicago, Brussels and Kabul in his first 10 days in office, a timetable worthy of his hyperactive conservative predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy.

May 24, 2012

France’s Hollande makes bold debut on EU summit stage

PARIS (Reuters) – At his first meeting of EU leaders, with the hotly contested issue of shared euro-zone debt top of his discussion list, France’s new president made it clear on Wednesday that he intends to stand up to Berlin on European policy.

As Francois Hollande arrived for the summit in Brussels, the Socialist leader told reporters that euro bonds would be up for discussion. Moments later, Chancellor Angela Merkel stepped out of her limousine and said curtly that she did not think such bonds were a good idea or would help to boost growth.

May 16, 2012

Hollande gets stormy welcome to power

PARIS (Reuters) – Francois Hollande was greeted by a thunderstorm in Paris and storm clouds gathering over the euro zone as France’s first Socialist president in 17 years was sworn in on Tuesday before flying to Berlin to plead his case for less austerity in Europe.

Hollande’s first day in power was marred by a downpour as he rode by open-top car through Paris to mark his investiture, and lightning that hit his presidential jet, forcing him to make a U-turn en route to Germany and switch to a smaller Falcon jet.

May 15, 2012

France’s Hollande gets stormy welcome to power

PARIS (Reuters) – Francois Hollande was greeted by a thunderstorm in Paris and storm clouds gathering over the euro zone as France’s first Socialist president in 17 years was sworn in on Tuesday before flying to Berlin to plead his case for less austerity in Europe.

Hollande’s first day in power was marred by a downpour as he rode by open-top car through Paris to mark his investiture, and lightning that hit his presidential jet, forcing him to make a U-turn en route to Germany and switch to a smaller Falcon jet.

May 15, 2012

France’s Hollande gives Sarkozy terse sendoff

PARIS (Reuters) – French President Francois Hollande gave his predecessor a terse send-off on Tuesday, omitting to wave Nicolas Sarkozy off from the steps of the Elysee palace and giving him only a cursory mention in his inaugural speech.

After a bruising election battle, Sarkozy was gracious in defeat, dropping all invective when he conceded within minutes of the May 6 result and inviting Hollande to accompany him at a ceremony two days later to commemorate the end of World War Two.

May 15, 2012

Hollande sworn in as new French president

PARIS (Reuters) – Francois Hollande was sworn in as France’s first Socialist president in 17 years in a brief ceremony on Tuesday before a dash to Berlin to challenge German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s austerity prescription for Europe.

In his inaugural speech to some 400 guests, Hollande said he would seek to amend a European pact to add growth-boosting measures to deficit-cutting policies that critics say are dampening the bloc’s growth prospects.

May 14, 2012

Similarities may push Merkel, Hollande together

BERLIN/PARIS (Reuters) – Five years ago, Nicolas Sarkozy flew straight to Berlin after his inauguration and shocked his hosts with some blunt talk on planemaker Airbus, one of the most sensitive of Franco-German issues.

That first visit set the tone for the months that followed. German officials looked on in horror as the new French president reneged on budget pledges, announced plans for nuclear cooperation with Libya and claimed credit for influencing decisions by the European Central Bank.

May 14, 2012

French cabinet a signal on Berlin ties, policy

PARIS (Reuters) – Incoming Socialist President Francois Hollande will appoint a German-speaker as prime minister and an experienced moderate as finance minister this week in a bid to send reassuring signals on his plans for relations with Berlin and cutting the deficit.

Jean-Marc Ayrault, widely tipped to be named premier, has strong contacts with the Berlin establishment that would make him a useful player behind the scenes as Hollande seeks to challenge Germany’s focus on austerity pledges.

    • About Catherine

      "Catherine is chief correspondent for Reuters France, in charge of political and macroeconomic news, with a focus for 2011 on the G20 presidency, euro zone debt crisis and 2012 election campaign. She has reported from 16 countries for Reuters -- most recently in Latin America as a senior correspondent in Mexico City -- on stories ranging from the Haiti earthquake to the Beijing Olympic Games."
      Languages:
      English, French, Spanish
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