Socialist Francois Hollande was sworn in as President of France today and almost immediately jetted off to Berlin for a quick meet and greet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
New French President Francois Hollande called for a European pact for growth to balance out German-driven austerity measures in his inaugural address on Tuesday, hours before taking his challenge to Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin.
Sworn in with all the pomp of the French Republic, Hollande won support from Germany's opposition Social Democrats (SPD), who vowed to use their parliamentary blocking power to delay ratifying a European budget discipline treaty until Merkel accepts accompanying measures to boost growth and jobs.
"I will propose to our partners a pact that will tie the necessary reduction of our public debt to the indispensable stimulation of our economies," the Socialist president said in his 10-minute maiden speech.
Hollande's inauguration with military honours, capped by an open-topped motorcade ride up the Champs Elysees to the Arc de Triomphe in torrential rain, marks a potential turning point in the euro zone's debt crisis amid a deepening political crisis in Greece, Europe's most pressing debt headache.
Euro zone finance ministers dismissed talk of Greece leaving the 17-nation currency area as "propaganda and nonsense" on Monday. But with the country facing the likelihood of a repeat general election that leftist anti-bailout parties believe they can win, speculation about a possible Greek exit is rattling financial markets and won't go away.
"Growth" policies is shorthand for massive increases in government spending, massive tax hikes, and a massive expansion of public sector jobs.
If radically increasing government spending led to prosperity, the US economy would be booming. This is a lesson that Europe should have learned already, but apparently needs a refresher course.