Hollande win 'a turning point for Europe'

2012-05-07 07:25

Paris - The European and international press described the victory of Socialist Francois Hollande in the French presidential election as a turning point for Europe, but warned of major challenges ahead.

"Au revoir President Bling Bling!" headlined Britain's conservative tabloid Daily Mail, while German papers wondered what the defeat of Nicolas Sarkozy would mean to Germany's ties with France.

Hollande's victory was described as "a turning point, especially for Angela Merkel," Financial Times Deutschland said.

Blow for Angela Merkel

"Francois Hollande, whom the chancellor wanted to avoid at all costs, has become president in place of her favourite.

"How unpleasant for Merkel. Not so much because Hollande would threaten the rescue of the euro. But because his demand to complement the EU fiscal pact with growth elements strikes at the chancellor's supremacy in Europe."

Left-leaning Berlin paper Tagesspiegel also viewed Hollande's victory as a blow for Merkel.

It saw France as "symbolically leaving northern Europe in favour of southern Europe - in terms of drifting away from budgetary discipline" and concluded: "This means that Germany has fewer, too few, allies."

"If the international financial markets begin to lose faith in France, the second-biggest industrial nation in the European Union, it will weaken the euro.

"This country alone (Germany) will not be able to stabilise it."

However, the regional daily Stuttgarter Zeitung doubted that France alone would be strong enough to counter Merkel's insistence that austerity remains the key tonic for the eurozone crisis.

"As important as France is to drive the European Union forward, the country is not strong enough to impose its will on other heavyweights in the community," the paper said.

Britain's Independent said Hollande's victory, and the end of Sarkozy, heralded "a change in how Europe tackles its debt crisis and how France operates around the world."

London's Financial Times said: "Sarkozy becomes latest victim of anti-incumbent backlash," with all eyes now on reaction on the world markets.

In Austria, the Kurier newspaper ran the headline "Hollande topples Sarkozy from the throne," but commented in another article "Paris: lots of civic duty, but little fervour" for the new president who faces big challenges.

Mammoth task

The largest selling nationwide Austrian daily Kronen Zeitung added: "Hollande seals the end of Sarkozy" while Vienna's Die Presse said that "A mammoth task awaits the new guy."

Spain's centre-left daily El Pais declared: "The European left was reborn this May 6 in France.

"The anticipated victory of Hollande, a phlegmatic man who has the gift of irony but not the slightest experience of government, opens a new political stage in France as much as Europe," the paper wrote.

For the centre-right daily El Mundo, the French left had regained the presidency "in elections marked by the biggest economic and social crisis of the past half century."

Japan's Jiji Press said Hollande's success and that of the anti-austerity parties in Greece was a warning sign for those pressing for economic reforms in Europe.

"After these severe judgments from voters, the EU will inevitably need to review its course."

In China, an editorial in the Global Times daily argued that Hollande's victory alone would not in itself be enough to push through debt reform in France.

"The change has to come from reflection of a wider scope," it argued.

"But protests against austerity measures from Greece to France have suggested that this much-needed reflection is far from coming. Statesmen are busy pleasing voters, not leading reflection."

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  • Jerzy - 2012-05-07 08:35

    What did Santorum, the newt, herman cain and Sarkozy have in common? They all ran on an anti Muslim campaign which ultimately led to their demise. Their feeble attempts to undermine the electorate proved fatal, as one cannot blame the dwindling economies and job losses on the threat of the Muslim invasion. Good riddance!!

      David - 2012-05-07 12:28

      Do you live in France? 'Cause you're way out of topic! ;-)

  • Diana - 2012-05-07 09:12

    Considering Germany i think it worries them if their influence on France is to remain the same. Being in the strongest position amongst EU members germans want to preserve the right to be the master and commander on this ship.

      Juergen - 2012-05-07 10:26

      It not about influence, it is about the EU programmes of which France and Germany have a 47% participation of the Euro saving funds. In order to stimulate growth, Europe went the way of "saving" and not increased spending. Scandinavian countries successfully went through this, Ireland is on a very good way and evev Portugal has steadied the ship. If South Africa were the (and is) the strongest economy in Sub-Saharan Africa, would its people be happy to pay for the debts and flailing economies of the other nations WITHOUT wanting some say. Why is Germany economically as strong as it is? Why should it not have a major say in EU economic policy?

      Diana - 2012-05-07 11:22

      @Juergen: i am surprised why you see any negativity towards Germany in my comment? Because i compare them to master and commander? Anyone would agree its better to have a wise captain when sailing through the rough seas.

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