Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DEBATE

Gaza: A Truce At All Costs?

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Central African Republic: Brazzaville ceasefire talks deliver fragile deal

Read more

FOCUS

Sluggish tourist season in Crimea

Read more

ENCORE!

Bartabas : Mixing Christ with Spanish music and dancing horses

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Shifts in the propaganda war waged between Israelis and Palestinians

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

French MPs face quandary in pro-Palestinian rallies

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Yezid Sayigh, Senior Associate at the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut

Read more

#TECH 24

Mind the Gender Gap : getting more women into the tech sector

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

Bolivian children: heading to work aged 10

Read more

  • Live: France says missing Algerian plane 'probably crashed'

    Read more

  • 51 French nationals aboard missing Algerian plane

    Read more

  • Deadly Israeli strike on UN shelter in Gaza Strip

    Read more

  • Pope meets with Sudanese Christian woman sentenced to death for apostasy

    Read more

  • Algerian jet vanishes: 'We should eliminate the missile hypothesis'

    Read more

  • Italy’s Nibali cruises to easy victory in 18th stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • Iraqi parliament elects moderate Kurd as president

    Read more

  • US, European aviation agencies lift travel restrictions to Tel Aviv

    Read more

  • No end to fighting until Israel ends Gaza blockade, Hamas says

    Read more

  • Two foreign women shot dead in western Afghanistan

    Read more

  • At least 60 killed in attack on prison convoy near Baghdad

    Read more

  • Cycling is ‘winning the war on doping,’ says expert

    Read more

  • Ceasefire agreed for Central African Republic

    Read more

  • Can Jew-kissing-Arab selfie give peace a viral chance?

    Read more

  • Botched Arizona execution takes nearly two hours

    Read more

Europe

Hollande turns tide against Merkel's austerity

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2012-05-20

The world’s most powerful leaders held talks at the G8 summit on Saturday with the eurozone crisis top of their agenda. Francois Hollande’s call for growth won him some powerful allies as he battles against Germany’s insistence on austerity.

“An alliance for growth” was French daily newspaper Le Monde's depiction of the historic first meeting between new president François Hollande and his American counterpart Barack Obama.

Echoed by many other French media outlets, Le Monde's Saturday edition headline reflected the gaining momentum of Hollande‘s call to move away from austerity in tackling the ever-worsening eurozone crisis.

G8 leaders back Greece in euro zone, call growth "imperative"

REUTERS - G8 leaders said Saturday it is “their imperative” to promote growth and jobs to reinvigorate the global economy, and gave their backing to Greece remaining in the euro zone.

“We agree on the importance of a strong and cohesive Eurozone for global stability and recovery, and we affirm our interest in Greece remaining in the Eurozone while respecting its commitments,” the leaders said in a statement after meeting at this presidential retreat.
 

He was buoyed by the backing he received from Obama calling for a "strong growth agenda in Europe" as the two heads of state met for the first time at the White House on Friday.

"Even if the wording was general, it was important for Hollande," Le Monde said. "The head of state now has a heavyweight ally in his condemnation of austerity policies."

The new alliance, forged in a meeting lasting little over an hour, is a happy beginning for Hollande heading into this weekend’s G8 summit meeting of the world’s most powerful leaders at Camp David.

World leaders echo Hollande's call

France's new president has long insisted the gloom hanging over Europe’s economies can only be lifted if harsh belt-tightening policies demanded by Germany are complimented by measures to kick-start the eurozone’s ailing economies.

Following Obama’s ringing endorsement of Hollande’s ideas, British Prime Minister David Cameron, who met with Hollande for the first time on Friday evening, was the next to align himself with the French president, suggesting the two shared the same views on growth.

"There is no conflict between austerity and growth," Cameron told reporters. "You need to have a strong deficit reduction program in order to get growth. President Hollande believes that, and I believe that."

Cameron did, however, set up a future clash with Hollande over the Frenchman’s promise to introduce a Tobin Tax on financial transactions, saying he would not support the move.

European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso also echoed Hollande’s call for more job-creating measures to help Europe out of the mire.

"We need to take action for growth while staying the course in terms of putting our public finances in order. Stability and growth go together. They are two sides of the same coin," he said.

Italy’s prime minister Mario Monti has already come out in support of growth measures to tackle a crisis that appears to be reaching a breaking point, with Greece heading toward an election that could throw its eurozone membership into question.

Merkel in danger of being isolated

When Hollande made a pre-election promise to tear up the European Union's fiscal pact, of which his predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy was so proud, it set the Socialist on course for a clash with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. She insisted Europe must continue to take the poison when it comes to austerity.

But the sands now appear to be shifting in Hollande’s favour. Instead of the Frenchman looking like he's in over his head, it is his German counterpart who appears more likely to cut a lonely figure at Camp David.

"Germany is absolutely isolated," said Domenico Lombardi, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution think tank, in an interview with Reuters news agency.

Lombardi said the dire situation of Greece has shifted the focus of the debate and heightened the need for a different solution to the crisis.

Even Obama sensed the growing pressure on Merkel, commenting she must have "things on her mind" after she responded to his greeting with a resigned shrug of her shoulders.

Hervé Favre, in an editorial for French paper La Voix du Nord, said with Obama’s backing Hollande could now “pile the pressure on Angela Merkel”.

After Camp David, Hollande’s crash course in diplomacy will continue at a two day NATO summit on Sunday and Monday where Afghanistan, Syria and Iran will all be on the agenda.

The French president then returns to Europe, where he will once again come face to face with Merkel at a European Summit in Brussels on May 23. After this weekend, it's possible he'll go into that meeting with his head held high.

 

Date created : 2012-05-19

  • DIPLOMACY

    Eurozone woes to top G8 summit agenda

    Read more

  • DIPLOMACY

    Hollande affirms France's early Afghan exit in US talks

    Read more

COMMENT(S)