May is a month of public holidays in France, and the eighth is the day the country celebrates the 1945 armistice ending the Second World War in Europe.
Traditionally the president leads the commemoration, and on Tuesday Nicolas Sarkozy invited his successor, François Hollande, to join him on the Champs Elysees.
In just one week’s time the job will be Hollande’s alone. On May 15 the formal handover takes place, and Hollande will be expected to name his prime minister. The day after he flies to Berlin to meet Angela Merkel in what will be a key meeting.
Hollande has to convince her to back his growth strategy. He has said Germany cannot expect to hold a double veto, over debt refinancing by the ECB, and Eurobonds.
It is going to be a hectic six weeks, because Hollande has to gather his team around him and then return to the campaign trail for his Socialists for the June parlaimentary elections, which he will need to win if he is not to be a lame-duck president from the outset.
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