François Hollande has beaten Nicolas Sarkozy in the French presidential election, marking the start of some interesting times for the euro-fanatics.
Hollande is a committed europhile but he's a socialist whilst Angela Merkel is a conservative. He wants to renegotiate France's relationship with Germany making it stronger but with a leftist tilt.
Looking at Hollande's manifesto, it all looks quite familiar:
|Withdrawal from Afghanistan||X||X|
|Separation of retail and investment banks||X||X|
|Unachievable "green" energy targets||X||X|
|Merge income tax and national insurance||X|
|Introduce punishing higher rate tax||X|
|Reducing corporation tax||X|
|More judges and police||X||X|
|Massive housebuilding scheme||X||X|
|Dropping retirement age|
|Development funds for deprived areas||X||X|
|Pie in the sky plan to abolish deficit||X||X|
|Pandering to native minorities||X||X|
|More EU integration||X||X|
On major policy issues, it seems the socialist Hollande has more in common with the Tories and Lib Dems than he does with his fellow socialists in the Labour Party. Of course, there's barely a fag paper between the LibLabCon parties when it comes to anything important and the Tories have lurched to the left in recent years so it's hardly surprising.
Rumours abound that Hollande's election could drive a wedge between France and Germany that will bring the EU and the €uro crashing down round van Rumpy-Pumpy's ears but in reality it's unlikely to make all that much difference. Eight out of ten laws in the UK come from the EU but it's even higher in France as they're in the single currency and Shengen. Heads of state for EU member states mainly oversee the implementation of EU laws, it doesn't make much difference what colour their rosette is and Hollande is a europhile so don't expect any opposition to greater EU integration.