News / Europe

    France's New President Faces First Challenge in Germany

    French president Francois Hollande, center, flanked by his companion Valerie Trierweiler, right, Paris' mayor Bertrand Delanoe, second left,and Paris' deputy mayor Anne Hidalgo arrives to deliver a speech as part of a ceremony held at Paris' town hall, Pa
    French president Francois Hollande, center, flanked by his companion Valerie Trierweiler, right, Paris' mayor Bertrand Delanoe, second left,and Paris' deputy mayor Anne Hidalgo arrives to deliver a speech as part of a ceremony held at Paris' town hall, Pa
    Lisa Bryant
    PARIS - Francois Hollande became France's first Socialist president in nearly two decades Tuesday, just over a week after he beat conservative incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy. Hollande's first challenge comes hours after his swearing-in ceremony, when he heads to Berlin for talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

    Wearing a dark suit and blue tie, Francois Hollande was sworn in as France's president at the Elysee Palace in downtown Paris.
    • French President-elect Francois Hollande, right, shakes hands with outgoing President Nicolas Sarkozy before the handover ceremony Tuesday, May 15, 2012 at the Elysee Palace in Paris.
    • Francois Hollande drives down the Champs Elysees avenue in Paris after the handover ceremony.
    • Hollande smiles from his car during a rain shower on the Champs Elysees.
    • Outgoing President Nicolas Sarkozy leaves the Elysee Palace after the handover ceremony.
    • Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, center, leave the Elysee Palace after the handover ceremony.
    • Hollande and his companion Valerie Trierweiler leave the Elysee Palace after the handover ceremony.
    • Outgoing French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife Carla Bruni-Sarkozy leave the Elysee Palace after the handover ceremony.
    • Francois Hollande attends a military ceremony in the garden of the Elysee Palace following his investiture in Paris, May 15, 2012.
    • President Hollande shakes hands with supporters on the Champs Elysees Avenue after the handover ceremony.

    Later, a sodden President Hollande stood before The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier near the Arc de Triomphe, after having driven up the Champs Elysees in an open-roofed Citroen car in the pouring rain. He greeted well-wishers who packed the sidewalks of Paris' iconic avenue.

    During a brief inaugural speech, Hollande said his first priority would be to unify France following a bitter presidential campaign. He vowed to fight for justice and equality and against discrimination during his five-year term in office.

    Hollande also addressed the considerable problems facing France and Europe, which are battling an economic crisis that is now in its third year. He said he would propose a new pact to the 27-member European Union that would combine debt reduction with growth measures.

    President Hollande's proposals will be put to the test in Berlin, when he holds his first official talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Merkel worked closely with former president Sarkozy to push through a fiscal discipline pact signed by nearly all the EU countries. The German chancellor says the pact cannot be renegotiated.

    But Hollande is riding a wave of European anger against austerity measures. In recent Greek elections, voters backed anti-austerity parties, raising fears the country will eventually exit the euro currency union.

    Political analyst Bruno Cautres believes Hollande will seek European allies outside the traditional German-French partnership.

    "We are wondering in many European countries if it is going to be too far, too much - too much on the budget restrictions and not enough on the economic growth," said Cautres. "So Francois Hollande certainly is going to try to get the support of other chiefs of state or chiefs of government in order to renegotiate with Germany."

    Merkel is also in a weaker position after her conservative party lost two state elections. The German chancellor said Monday she saw no conflict between solid budgetary policy and growth.  

    Later in the week, President Hollande heads to the United States to attend Group of Eight and NATO summits and to meet with U.S. President Barack Obama.

    You May Like

    US-Russia Tensions Complicate Syria War

    With a shared enemy and opposing allies, Russia and the US are working to avoid confrontation

    Video Re-opening Old Wounds in Beirut's Bullet-riddled Yellow House

    Built in neo-Ottoman style in 1920s, it is set to be re-opened in Sept. as ‘memory museum’ - bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity

    Cambodian-Americans Lobby for Human Rights Resolution

    Resolution condemns all forms of political violence in Cambodia, urges Cambodian government to end human rights violations, calls for respect of press freedom

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: LOM from: Akron, OH
    May 15, 2012 6:40 AM
    What can he really change?

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora