France and Europe with Francois Hollande
At a time of ongoing crisis and turmoil in much of Europe, Francois Hollande has been elected the next president of France. Despite a record vote for the extreme right in the first round of the presidential elections, French voters rallied behind the center-left candidate. France’s choice has tremendous significance for Europe. It is a clear rejection of the “austerity-only” economic strategy that has been advocated and partially implemented as the cure for the problems of the eurozone. France has a size and weight in Europe that will give Francois Hollande a voice that others will not be able to ignore. The new French government will find allies throughout Europe, including among German Social-Democrats and Greens. It has become clear that economic policies that simply push Southern Europe into a deflationary spiral cannot be a solution to the challenges of sovereign debt worries and high unemployment that the region faces. Not just France, but much of Europe is looking for a better way.