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September 18, 2021

Hollande sworn in as French president amid Europe’s debt woes

François Hollande promised a new approach to tackling the financial woes plaguing Europe as he was sworn in as president of France on Tuesday. Hollande becomes France’s first Socialist president since François Mitterrand left office in 1995. He secured election victory earlier this month over the incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy, one of the most U.S.-friendly French presidents in decades, CNN informs. At an investiture ceremony at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Hollande said he wanted to balance the need to reduce the debts of European governments with efforts to stimulate growth.Underlining his Socialist credentials, he said he wanted to discourage “exorbitant” incomes. “It’s time to put production ahead of speculation,” he said.The new president’s approach to France’s economic challenges is likely to reverberate across Europe as the continent wrestles with an unyielding debt crisis. Hollande has unsettled investors with his criticism of the austerity policies central to European bailout deals for troubled economies like Greece and Ireland. As the leader of the euro zone’s second-largest economy after Germany, his opinion matters. And analysts are waiting to see what kind of relationship he and the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, are able to establish.In an indication of the urgency of the challenges Europe faces, Hollande was to travel to Berlin to meet with Merkel shortly after his inauguration.Greeted by flag-waving crowds on the street, a steady stream of prominent French figures arrived at the Elysee on Tuesday ahead of the ceremony and walked on a red carpet through the palace’s sun-filled courtyard.They included the Socialist Party leader Martine Aubry and Bertand Delanoe, the mayor of Paris. Inside the palace, they gathered under ornate chandeliers to witness the transfer of power to Hollande. The president elect’s car traveled along the tree-lined streets and avenues of Paris, bringing him over the River Seine and past the Grand Palais before pulling up inside the courtyard.After they emerged, Sarkozy and his wife, Carla Bruni, left the palace, waving from the car as they were driven away. Hollande, meanwhile, undertook the swearing-in ceremony to become the seventh president of France’s Fifth Republic.

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