Hollande’s first act: convincing Merkel to change course

 

Paris

François Hollande’s first act as French president next week will be to fly to Berlin to try to convince Chancellor Angela Merkel to abandon her all-stick-and-no-carrot approach to the European economic crisis.

The first meeting between the Chancellor and the new French President was brought forward today to Tuesday afternoon – immediately after Mr Hollande’s inauguration ceremony in the Elysée Palace.

The meeting, provisionally scheduled for Wednesday, was originally described by sources close to Mr Hollande as “just a handshake” — in other words a preliminary meeting for the TV cameras rather than a true negotiation. The pace of events in Greece and Spain, however, and the deepening crisis in Europe have forced Mr Hollande and Ms Merkel to accelerate and upgrade their political courtship.

Mr Hollande now plans to fly to Berlin immediately after his swearing ceremony in Paris and remain for lengthy talks, including a press conference and a working dinner.

The French president elect has already been reaching out to other senior figures in the European Union in an attempt to win backing for his plan to shift from an “all-austerity” approach to the euro crisis to one partly based on large projects to stimulate growth.

In Paris today he met the Luxembourg Prime Minister, Jean-Claude Juncker, who chairs the Eurogroup meetings of the countries which use the euro. Their meeting was described by the Hollande camp as “friendly and frank”.

On Wednesday, Mr Hollande had what were described as “lengthy, profound and friendly” talks with Herman van Rompuy, the President of the European Council (the summits of EU heads of state and government).

Mr Hollande will seek to reassure Ms Merkel that he has no plans to abandon the fiscal discipline and deficit-cutting set out in the treaty agreed by 25 out of 27 EU countries in March. He insists, however, that EU countries must agree an additional protocol or treaty setting out multi-billion euro infrastructure projects to kick-start growth.

How these projects would be funded remains unclear or creatively vague. Mr Hollande has spoken of euro bonds – or loans given or guaranteed by the European Central Bank. This idea was once again rejected by Ms Merkel in a speech to the Bundestag today.

However, the Hollande camp – and the European Commission – have also spoken of something called “project bonds”, essentially euro bonds by another name. These would be issued by the European Investment Bank, with or without ECB backing, and could, with private participation, amount to at least €180bn.

News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Sport
Alexis Sanchez, Radamel Falcao, Diego Costa and Mario Balotelli
football
Sport
Danny Welbeck's Manchester United future is in doubt
footballGunners confirm signing from Manchester United
News
people Emma Watson addresses celebrity nude photo leak
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
footballFeaturing Bart Simpson
News
Katie Hopkins appearing on 'This Morning' after she purposefully put on 4 stone.
peopleKatie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge
Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman topped the list of the 30 most influential females in broadcasting
tv
News
Kelly Brook
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Sport
Andy Murray celebrates a shot while playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
TennisWin sets up blockbuster US Open quarter-final against Djokovic
Arts and Entertainment
Hare’s a riddle: Kit Williams with the treasure linked to Masquerade
booksRiddling trilogy could net you $3m
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
News
news Video - hailed as 'most original' since Benedict Cumberbatch's
News
i100
Life and Style
The longer David Sedaris had his Fitbit, the further afield his walks took him through the West Sussex countryside
lifeDavid Sedaris: What I learnt from my fitness tracker about the world
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Software Solution Technician - Peterborough - up to £21,000

£20000 - £21000 per annum + Training: Ashdown Group: Graduate Software Solutio...

Supply teachers needed- Worthing!

£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Crawley: Supply teachers needed for va...

Year 4 Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Plymouth: Year 4 Primary Teachers needed Rand...

IT Technician

£50 - £65 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: Randstad Education are current...

Day In a Page

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering