Blog Post

Germany’s reaction to the newly elected French President

"Europe is watching us" declared François Hollande last Sunday after his victory in the French presidential elections, “At the moment when the result was proclaimed, I am sure that in many countries of Europe there was relief and hope: finally austerity is no longer destiny.” How did the German press and blogosphere react to the […]

By: Date: May 8, 2012 Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance

"Europe is watching us" declared François Hollande last Sunday after his victory in the French presidential elections, “At the moment when the result was proclaimed, I am sure that in many countries of Europe there was relief and hope: finally austerity is no longer destiny.”

How did the German press and blogosphere react to the results of the French election?

Hollande – a possible danger?

Günther Nonnemacher states in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) that two reasons led to his victory.  First, it was not enthusiasm, but his insistence: when he announced his candidacy in 2011, hardly anyone believed that he would win the primaries of the French Socialist Party (PS). Secondly, Hollande benefited greatly from the widespread aversion against Sarkozy as the “president of the rich” and his hyperactive style of government. However, Hollande will not have a test phase now; he will have to prove himself soon during the G8 and Nato meetings has and he will have to handle the Euro crisis.

Thomas Hanke writes,  that unlike Sarkozy, François Hollande will not surprise Merkel. The former for example, attacked Merkel in the very beginning of his mandate by suggesting building a Mediterranean Union. Hollande is much more predictable, but he still has to learn that he only can get stronger when he fosters France’s economic health. France should also pay more attention to its crucial role as a link between the north and the south in Europe.  Hanke also explains that the French campaign is over and Hollande has to face reality now. He has to gain the confidence of both his European partners as well as that of financial markets.

Gabor Steingart of Handelsblatt, states that if Hollande goes on to accomplish the promises he made during the campaign (e.g. expansive social policies, fight against a debt brake, further politicizing of the ECB), France will become Germany’s rival.

In an interview to Die Welt Hans-Werner Sinn, President of the Munich-based Ifo Institute sees the result of the French elections very critically: Hollande fooled people with the slogan ‘growth instead of savings’.

Hollande – hope for better co-operation?

Stefan Ulrich writes in the Süddeutsche Zeitung that France now indeed has to face the truth, but Hollande, according to Ulrich, may be capable of finding the right way to do so. Also for Merkel he may turn out to be the better partner. Egalité is for France, what the social market economy is for Germany. Germany has already under Schröder begun to carry out necessary reforms in order to preserve this value. France must now do the same thing: it will be inter alia necessary to say goodbye to the 35-hour week and to early retirement schemes. Moreover, trade unions and employers will have to learn to see each other as partners and not as enemies. Until now, Hollande has been silent about all this; it is now time to explain that the French are willing to go with the other European people.

In the Blog of the Zeit Herdentrieb Dieter Wermuth writes on 7 May 2012 about the financial markets’ reaction to the outcome of the French elections. The economic programme of M. Hollande could have caused fear among financial markets’ participants, but it did not: there is no trace of panic. The slight fall of the euro is probably rather due to the Greek elections results. The French government bond market is even better than the German one– a surprising result. Market participants apparently trust Hollande to be sufficiently pragmatic and capable of compromises.

Dirk Elsner analyzes on Blicklog the probable impact of the recent elections on the European ‘tectonics’. The impact depends mainly on whether Hollande will really implement his announced ‘industrial policy socialism’. However, in most cases, elected politicians tend to opt for the realpolitik-approach, which follows more or less (political) economic calculations. The German austerity is internationally controversial and attacked by many economists. Thus, this ‘religious war’ around austerity will be at the heart of future conflicts. What is clear now is that the French-German relations are currently tense.


Republishing and referencing

Bruegel considers itself a public good and takes no institutional standpoint. Anyone is free to republish and/or quote this post without prior consent. Please provide a full reference, clearly stating Bruegel and the relevant author as the source, and include a prominent hyperlink to the original post.

Read article
 

Blog Post

Will European Union recovery spending be enough to fill digital investment gaps?

The recovery facility will boost digital transformation, but questions remain whether it will be sufficient to achieve Europe’s digital ambitions.

By: Zsolt Darvas, J. Scott Marcus and Alkiviadis Tzaras Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance, Innovation & Competition Policy Date: July 20, 2021
Read article Download PDF
 

Policy Contribution

A new direction for the European Union’s half-hearted semiconductor strategy

The EU needs a more targeted strategy to increase its presence in this strategic and thriving sector, building on its existing strengths, while accommodating its relatively low domestic needs.

By: Niclas Poitiers and Pauline Weil Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance, Innovation & Competition Policy Date: July 15, 2021
Read article More by this author
 

Blog Post

Fit for 55 marks Europe’s climate moment of truth

With Fit for 55, Europe is the global first mover in turning a long-term net-zero goal into real-world policies, marking the entry of climate policy into the daily life of all citizens and businesses.

By: Simone Tagliapietra Topic: Energy & Climate, European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: July 14, 2021
Read article More on this topic
 

Blog Post

Fair vaccine access is a goal Europe cannot afford to miss – July update

European countries must do more to tackle the vaccine uptake gap. Vaccination data should be published at the maximum granularity level so researchers and local decision-makers can monitor progress.

By: Lionel Guetta-Jeanrenaud and Mario Mariniello Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: July 14, 2021
Read article More by this author
 

Blog Post

SPACs in the gap

Special-purpose acquisition vehicles could fill a gap in European equity markets and lure risk-averse investors off the sidelines.

By: Rebecca Christie Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance, Finance & Financial Regulation Date: July 13, 2021
Read about event More on this topic
 

Upcoming Event

Sep
1
12:30

The EU recovery fund - state of play and outlook

Bruegel Annual Meetings, Day 1- In this session we will discuss the EU recovery fund, its state of play and outlook.

Speakers: Nadia Calviño, Karolina Ekholm and Guntram B. Wolff Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels
Read about event More on this topic
 

Upcoming Event

Sep
2
10:00

Conversation on the recovery programmes

Bruegel Annual Meetings, Day 2- In this session, we discuss the recovery programmes.

Speakers: Maria Demertzis, Mehreen Khan and Tadeusz Kościński Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Location: Palais des Academies, Rue Ducale 1
Read about event
 

Upcoming Event

Sep
2
13:00

European banks: under global competitive pressure?

Bruegel Annual Meetings, Day 2 - European banks have lost stature and remain generally low-profitability, low-valuation in comparison to their global peers. Is that a problem? If so, what can EU policymakers do to address it?

Speakers: José Antonio Álvarez Álvarez, Mairead McGuinness and Nicolas Véron Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance, Finance & Financial Regulation Location: Palais des Academies, Rue Ducale 1
Read about event More on this topic
 

Upcoming Event

Sep
2
15:45

Blending physical and virtual: shaping the new workplace

Bruegel Annual Meetings, Day 2 - This panel will cover the changes the COVID-19 pandemic made to our workplaces, and what to expect in the near future.

Speakers: Nicholas Bloom, Michael Froman, Mario Mariniello, Sara Matthieu and Luca Visentini Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Location: Academy Palace
Read about event More on this topic
 

Upcoming Event

Sep
3
09:00

The role of the EU's trade strategy for an inclusive and sustainable recovery

Bruegel Annual Meetings, Day 3 - We are delighted to welcome Valdis Dombrovskis, Executive Vice President of the European Commission for An Economy that Works for People to talk about Europe's trade strategy.

Speakers: Valdis Dombrovskis and Alicia García-Herrero Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Location: Palais des Academies, Rue Ducale 1
Read about event More on this topic
 

Upcoming Event

Sep
3
10:15

Conference on the Future of Europe: envisioning EU citizens engagement

Bruegel Annual Meetings, Day 3 - Panellists will discuss different options and what they may entail while revisiting the debates on the future of Europe at national and EU-level that have been conducted thus far.

Speakers: Caroline de Gruyter, Kalypso Nicolaïdis, Niclas Poitiers and György Szapáry Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Location: Palais des Academies, Rue Ducale 1
Read article More on this topic
 

Blog Post

A breakdown of EU countries’ post-pandemic green spending plans

An analysis of European Union countries’ recovery plans shows widely differing green spending priorities.

By: Klaas Lenaerts and Simone Tagliapietra Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: July 8, 2021
Load more posts