Francois Hollande’s victory in the French presidential election represents a significant challenge to German-led austerity.
The Socialist has hit out at Berlin’s emphasis on cuts to tackle the eurozone’s debt crisis. He wants more measures to reignite economic growth.
Anticipating a backlash over the EU fiscal pact, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has already started firing off warning shots.
“We in Germany are of the opinion, and that includes myself personally, that the stability pact cannot be renegotiated,” Merkel said.
“Twenty-five countries have signed it, Greece and Portugal ratified it and Ireland is preparing for a referendum on it. I think the pact is right,” she continued.
Merkel has also urged Greece to stay on track with its reforms. Here, the two main parties have been punished by austerity-weary voters. Other parties, against the country’s programme of cuts, have surged in popularity.
Political landscapes are changing. There is more pressure than ever for a rethink of how Europe is tackling its debt problems.