French presidency - All eyes now on Hollande

THE victory of socialist François Hollande in the French presidential race promises to have a crucial impact on the future of France, the EU, and Ireland.

His opponent, former president Nicolas Sarkozy, was no friend of Ireland and wanted to unravel our corporate tax rate of 12.5%. What tax strategy will Hollande adopt?

With this country in the throes of a referendum campaign on the fiscal compact treaty, every word the new president of France utters will carry political clout. Governments across Europe are waiting anxiously to learn precisely how he wants the treaty’s emphasis to reflect less austerity and more growth and development, a concept rapidly becoming the new mantra of Brussels. Such a shift would certainly be welcome here.

Whether he wants a new treaty or an addendum will become clear after tomorrow’s meeting between Mr Hollande and the most powerful woman in Europe, German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The eyes of Europe — and Ireland — will be on them.


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