|Hollande sworn in as French president|
|Wednesday, 16 May 2012 00:00|
PARIS — Francois Hollande was sworn in as France’s first Socialist president since 1995 yesterday at a solemn ceremony overshadowed by the debt crisis threatening to unravel the eurozone. After brief ceremonies in Paris, the 57-year-old career politician was to dash to Berlin to confront Chancellor Angela Merkel over their very different visions as to how to save the
single currency bloc.
“Europe needs plans. It needs solidarity. It needs growth,” he said, renewing his vow to turn the page on austerity and invest for the future, and implicitly underlining his differences with Merkel. To our partners I will propose a new pact that links a necessary reduction in public debt with indispensable economic stimulus,” he said.
“And I will tell them of our continent’s need in such an unstable world to protect not only its values but its interests.”
The new president was welcomed to the Elysee Palace by his predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy, who led him to the presidential office for a private head-to-head and to hand over the codes to France’s nuclear arsenal.
No foreign heads of state were invited to what was a low-key ceremony for a post of such importance, leader of the world’s fifth great power.
Europe’s biggest economy and France’s key ally.
He boarded a second plane and was expected to arrive in Berlin early slast night.