Europe has hardly figured as an item in the French presidential elections, but the election and the campaign has made front pages around the continent.
That is because if François Hollande wins, many around Europe are wondering how the return of the French left will shake things up, and in particular what will happen to the key Franco-German relationship at the heart of the EU.
“A new French president obviously has a lot more room to manoeuvre than an old French president. Clearly what François Hollande wants to do is use his electoral mandate to put pressure on Germany, to push his agenda of reorienting the eurozone towards a policy that pays more attention to growth and is not devoted only to austerity,” says the Financial Times’ Europe News Editor Ben Hall.
It seems likely that Hollande is heading for victory, and this comes at a time when the European right’s calls for austerity are falling on increasingly deaf ears. Is a political sea change in the air?
“The French and Greek elections are new variables in the sensitive financial and economic landscape of Europe. Very soon we will know whether or not these variables will improve the prospects of getting out of the crisis,” says euronews’ Giovanni Magi, in Paris.