- Title: VARIOUS: Mixed feelings across Europe to Hollande election
- Date: 8th May 2012
- Summary: STREET IN BRUSSELS AND NEWSPAPER
- Reuters ID: LVAB62VA7WBSWERDLXTEGZYO2B4D
- Location: Belgium, Germany, United Kingdom
- Country: Belgium United Kingdom Germany
- Duration: 00:00:06
- Aspect Ratio:
- Topics: Politics
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- Story Text: People across Europe reacted with mixed feelings on Monday (May 7) to the news that French Socialist Francois Hollande ousted Nicolas Sarkozy as president of France after elections were held on Sunday (May 6).
The Socialist beat conservative Sarkozy with 51.7 percent of Sunday's runoff vote after a bruising campaign dominated by the same anger over economic crisis that has felled 10 other European leaders since late 2009.
The new president will be sworn in on May 15. Hollande will travel to Berlin shortly thereafter to challenge Germany's focus on austerity policies and press new ideas for stimulating growth as fears about the euro zone's debt crisis resurface following an inconclusive election in Greece.
Across Europe there seemed a sense of apprehension about how the new French president would choose to run the country and what affect it would have on the rest of the continent.
"It's confusing, unexpected and risky," Jean-Pierre Clerx told Reuters TV in Brussels.
"I hope that Europe will become more social as France is on the socialist side now. And I hope he will manage to convince Germany to be more social and less liberal," another Belgian, Eric, said.
In the German financial capital Frankfurt, people said they hoped France and Germany would be able to continue working well together.
"I think that German and France need to work together, otherwise it will all break apart. I mean they were the ones that built it all up," Jan Wolf said.
"Kohl and Mitterrand always worked well and it was the same with Chirac and Schroeder so I hope that it will work better with Merkel and Hollande. It is important that there is a good relationship with two such big countries in Europe," Rashid Dagdag, a French man living in Germany said.
"It doesn't matter who forms the government in the different countries because it doesn't have anything to do with the governments but more with the banks, insurance etc. The government only puts forward a framework. That's it," Werner Pickert said.
Hollande's clear win should give the self-styled "Mr Normal" the momentum to press German Chancellor Angela Merkel to accept a policy shift towards fostering growth in Europe to balance the austerity that has fuelled anger across southern Europe.
Merkel, who had openly favoured fellow conservative Sarkozy, telephoned to congratulate Hollande and invited him to Berlin after his inauguration. The vote ended the "Merkozy" duo that led Europe through crisis and ushers in an untested partnership.
In London 's financial district Canary Wharf, one man said the French voters had made the right decision.
"The implementation is the key, everybody knows that. So, how it translates, how the people are going to accept it and how it's going to result in economic progress is the big question out there," said London resident Peri Vengopal.
"I think it's a worrying time, if he is going to move against the general policies of austerity it could be real problem and I don't thing Angela is going to like it very much," Peter Sturtz told Reuters TV.
Opinion polls taken on Sunday showed the left strongly placed to win a majority in parliamentary elections next month, especially since the anti-immigration National Front is set to split the right-wing vote and hurt Sarkozy's UMP party.
If they win that two-round election on June 10 and 17, the Socialists would hold more levers of power than ever before, with the presidency, both houses of parliament, nearly all regions, and two-thirds of French towns in their hands.
Hollande led the presidential race from start to finish, outlining a comprehensive programme in January based on raising taxes, especially on high earners, to finance spending priorities and rein in the public deficit to zero by 2017.
He benefited from public distaste for the incumbent's abrasive style as well as anger about economic gloom that has swept aside leaders from Dublin to Lisbon.
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- Embargoed:23rd May 2012 13:00