French president-elect Francois Hollande will have to hit the ground running after his win on Sunday, with a crash course in international politics.
With virtually no foreign policy experience and little time to prepare Hollande will make his first trip abroad the day after he takes office next week.
And it is to Berlin and a critical meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel.
His mission – to keep his election promise of adding growth elements to a budget-trimming treaty, which Merkel has already declared is not renegotiable.
Within 24-hours he will be on his way to see President Barack Obama with the news he wants an early withdrawal of French troops from Afghanistan.
That’s followed by NATO and G8 summits.
By next week Hollande must also finalise his team of ministers as the pressure of nervous financial markets cuts short any hopes of a honeymoon in office. He is expected to name the German speaking moderate, Jean-Marc Ayrault as prime minister.
But before all that, out-going President Nicolas Sarkozy has invited his successor to join him at today’s annual ceremony to commemorate the end of World War II.
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