|France's newly-elected president, François Hollande, |
waved to supporters as he arrived at his campaign
headquarters in Paris on Monday.
By ALAN COWELL and NICHOLAS KULISH
Published: May 7, 2012PARIS — Hours after voters in France and Greece delivered sharp rebuttals to advocates of austerity as the antidote to Europe’s financial crisis, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany on Monday pointedly insisted that neither she nor her government favored a renegotiation of a fiscal pact underpinning the Continent’s belt-tightening.
Ms. Merkel’s remarks at a news conference in Berlin came as the victorious, socialist François Hollande prepared to succeed Nicolas Sarkozy as president of France. Her remarks underscored both the abiding significance of the axis between Paris and Berlin that drives European decision-making and the competing visions of austerity and stimulus as ways to combat crushing debt.
The balance between reducing borrowing and addressing popular anger at austerity measures is proving complicated for Europeans, and Mr. Hollande has said that he intends to give “a new direction to Europe,” demanding that a European Union treaty limiting debt be expanded to include measures to stimulate economic growth.
Ms. Merkel said she telephoned Mr. Hollande on Sunday night to congratulate him on his victory. On Monday, she stepped up her efforts to avoid any appearance of a strained relationship with the new French leader after working so closely with Mr. Sarkozy that their collaboration became known as “Merkozy.” READ MORE