Hollande best-placed to complete EU ‘re-balancing’

AFP, 03.05.2012

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Whichever candidate wins Sunday’s French presidential vote, Paris has work to do to patch up EU relations; but as a champion for a re-balanced politics of growth around Europe, Francois Hollande would be doing so from a position of strength. […]

That is the view of leading European Union analyst Janis Emmanouilidis, who sees the political debate having changed right across the eurozone and the EU.

“Angela Merkel is also under pressure, and the government in Germany will also look different after 2013,” Emmanouilidis told AFP after a showcase TV debate against President Nicolas Sarkozy that most commentators agreed strengthened Socialist Hollande’s credentials for power.

“Assuming he completes his victory, Hollande will come into his first talks with Chancellor Merkel in a stronger position, leading efforts supported by a number of countries to re-balance the EU ‘recipe’,” the expert underlined.

The ‘ABC’ of fiscal rigor will remain at the core, he said, but an ‘XYZ’ of policies and investment designed to unlock growth must now be grafted on as well. […]

At the heart of this change of direction, experts expect an increase in funding for the European Investment Bank, although more than that will be needed to convince the markets that the pain can also lead to gain.

However, “Merkel is already adapting to a new political landscape -- making different noises, showing she is preparing to accept certain mistakes were made... and accept the need to re-balance the overall policy approach.” […]

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