It’s been quite a weekend for Europe. A new president for France, and electoral upheaval in Greece, adding to the risks of an unsettled Euro zone.
But for Francois Hollande things couldn’t be better. A man who would be equally comfortable living as a butcher in a rural French village, has now ascended to the Elysée Palace as the new President of France. Here is a man, who as only a 15 year old once told a school friend’s parent that when he grew up he was going to be the President of the Republic – certainly a few steps up from being a fireman! But there’s nothing wrong with being a fireman, I hear you say!
Of course the full picture won’t be known in France until the parliamentary elections take place in the first weeks of June this year.
Hollande has been lucky that his opposition candidate was Nicolas Sarkozy, who has statistically been crowned the most unpopular President of all time. I have heard from many friends who have commented that their vote wasn’t so much a vote for Hollande, but a vote against Sarkozy. But will voting for Hollande have been a clever move for them?
Hollande has several major plans for the future:
- Head away from “austerity” and instead try and create growth through spending. This alone will create much discussion and tension throughout the Eurozone and where it will lead is uncertain although some commentators fear it will be the beginning of the end of the Euro zone as we know it.
- Create more than 60,000 jobs in the schooling sector.
- Reduce the retirement age back to 60 years old. As someone in their 50’s I wouldn’t want to stop working then!
- More support for the arts and culture.
- Higher tax rates for the wealthy at up to 75%!
What the reality will be in the next year is anyone’s guess. Whilst running huge deficits and still proceeding with achieving his electoral aims, only time will tell whether these aims are achievable.
As I overheard one man say “they will be ringing the bells tonight, but they’ll be wringing their hands tomorrow”.
Vive la France!