The summer is over for François Hollande, as is his political honeymoon following his election back in May. With unemployment hitting the 3 million threshold and the growing feeling this his Socialist government is moving too slowly to tackle the crisis, the president is going through his first real test. He needs to reassure the French that he is not only the anti-Nicolas Sarkozy, but also someone who can steer them through these economic hard times.
July 14th is upon us - time to take stock of the first two months in office of Socialist president François Hollande and his government. They have begun to carry out some reforms. But one word has not been pronounced by any minister: "rigueur", which means austerity. What will the government be able to do in these dire economic times?
July 14th is upon us, time to take stock of the two months in office of socialist president François Hollande and his government. They have begun to try to make some reforms but also change the mindset from the previous presidency of Nicolas Sarkozy. François Hollande likes to describe himself as a "normal president". How does a normal president function ? How has it work until now?
The dreaded numbers are in and they are not good. France needs to find 11 million euros to reach its budget deficit target this year and a whopping 33 billions for next year. This at a time when growth is expected to screech to a halt and as the euro crisis is still hovering on the horizon.
He came to power pledging to hold back the tide of austerity washing over Europe. But does Francois Hollande have the power to drive the French agenda through, when his German counterpart is calling for "more Europe"? It may be too early to shout federalism, but moves are a foot to create a banking union and to give the European Commission unprecedented oversight of national budgets.