The Franco-German Relationship Looks Set to Continue but Where Does This Leave the Greeks?

French President Francois Hollande

Newly-inaugurated French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Tuesday they want Greece to remain in the euro in a show of unity at their first meeting since Hollande was elected.

“I want to reiterate, and we agreed on this, that we want Greece to remain in the euro,” Merkel told reporters at a press conference in Berlin. “Most of the people of Greece want that as well.”

She tried to reassure the Greeks that European leaders would do all they could to help Greece structurally.

The new French Presidents first official trip started poorly when his first aircraft was struck by lightning and he had to board a second plane from Paris this was after he got drenched during his inauguration drive in an open-topped car.

“Maybe this is a good omen for cooperation,” Merkel said

Hollande repeated his call for a growth pact to stimulate the economy that had been part of his election campaign and his inauguration speech before heading to Berlin to meet Merkel.

At their press conference, the leaders acknowledged they had some divergent political views but presented a united front.

Hollande, said throughout his campaign that he wanted to re-negotiate Europe’s fiscal pact, the deal agreed by 25 of the European Union’s member states to keep deficits in check. He wants to change the focus to growth and away from the austerity championed by Merkel.

 

Euro Banknotes

“I believe that we did agree that there is an obligation to work together…We have some common ground, of course we have some different views but that can also be quite fruitful,” Merkel said. “Growth is a general term and I am pleased that we have agreed on talking about the different ideas on growth. Possibly we have some different opinions but I really look forward to our cooperation.”

Hollande has sent what many believe is a signal to the Germans that he wants to foster good relations by  naming Jean-Marc Ayrault, a German speaker, as French prime minister.

“The ties between Germany and France are stable and full of respect,” Hollande said at the press conference.

With Eurozone economies almost flat lining urgent action needs to be taken.

The crisis-stricken Greek economy shrank by 6.2% in the first quarter, increasing the sense of alarm in the country mired in political chaos.

One has to ask the question should the Greeks look to the example of some of the emerging economies that faces serious problems in 80’s and 90’s. Maybe it is time for the Greek people’s sake that they consider the alternatives.


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