News / Europe

Hollande and Merkel Face Berlin Showdown

Hollande, Merkel Face Berlin Showdown

x
Hollande, Merkel Face Berlin Showdowni
|| 0:00:00
X
Henry Ridgwell
May 14, 2012
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and France's president-elect, Francois Hollande, meet for the first time in Berlin Tuesday against the backdrop of renewed panic in the eurozone. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, the two leaders will try to overcome policy differences as the threat of a Greek exit from the euro looms closer.

Hollande, Merkel Face Berlin Showdown

TEXT SIZE - +
Henry Ridgwell
LONDON - They will try to overcome policy differences as the threat of a Greek exit from the euro looms closer

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and France's President-elect, Francois Hollande, meet for the first time in Berlin Tuesday against the backdrop of renewed financial panic in the eurozone. The two leaders will try to overcome policy differences as the threat of a Greek exit from the euro looms closer.

To the euphoric cheers of his supporters, Francois Hollande secured his victory on a platform of anti-austerity politics. Unlike his predecessor, Nicolas Sarkozy, there will be no post-election honeymoon on a Mediterranean yacht.

Just hours after being sworn in as president, Mr. Hollande will fly to Berlin to meet the very architect of Europe’s austerity program - German Chancellor Angela Merkel. She is playing down their differences. She says that Franco-German cooperation is essential in Europe. And, she says since we all want Europe to succeed, this cooperation will start very soon.

Francois Hollande wants Europe to invest more in growth. He campaigned for the introduction of eurobonds and a more political, powerful European central bank. This puts the two leaders on a collision course, says Philippe Moreau Defarges of the French Institute of International Relations.

“Mrs. Merkel looks very determined not to accept, you know, the Hollande vision. Mrs. Merkel says, 'We must reestablish more healthy public finances. We must tackle the debt issue.’ And Mrs. Merkel will not move," he said.

French voters rejected the austerity program of their outgoing president, Nicolas Sarkozy.

Although his successor may be riding the crest of an anti-austerity wave, he does have an Achilles heel, says Olaf Cramme, director of the Europe analyst group, Policy Network.  “Hollande has a very strong democratic mandate but a very weak economic mandate. France has a lot of problems as far as current account balance of payments is concerned, the deficit, unemployment etcetera, so he will also be constrained to what he can do," he said.

Angela Merkel faces problems, too, after a bruising election defeat in Germany’s most populous state on Sunday, just 18 months before national elections. 

But it is the brewing storm in Greece that is stoking fears in Berlin and far beyond.
Greek parties are struggling to form a government and may reject the budget cuts insisted on by the European Union.

The prospect of Greece leaving the currency bloc is now openly under discussion in European capitals, unthinkable just a few months ago, says analyst Olaf Cramme. “What do we do with the Greeks? Do we change the terms of the bailout program? Do we give them more time? Do we inject more funds? That’s really controversial, and it’s where the Germans want Angela Merkel to be really tough," he said.

France and Germany have been the driving force behind European integration. Analysts say their respective leaders will have to overcome their differences rapidly with the very survival of the euro at stake.

You May Like

Algerians Vote in Presidential Election

There were few media reports of protests and clashes around the country, but so far no significant violence More

Sharks More Evolved than Previously Thought

The discovery could “profoundly affect our understanding of evolutionary history” More

Pakistan Military Asked to Protect Polio Workers

Request comes as authorities say a Taliban ban on vaccinations in 2012 and deadly attacks on anti-polio teams have prevented thousands of children from getting inoculated More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid