The victory of François Hollande in the French presidential elections is seen by many Dutch media as a vote against further austerity measures and a possible threat to the economic recovery of the euro zone.
National daily De Telegraaf writes in an editorial that Hollande’s election could have consequences for the cooperation between France and Germany, the two countries that took the lead in tackling the euro crisis.
The paper writes that Hollande, a socialist, “finds the budget discipline agreement too strict and is looking for ways to stimulate economic growth. His counterpart, Chancellor Angela Merkel, is strongly opposed to a fresh round of negotiations. A break between the two countries would be lethal to the euro zone.”
However, most of the other dailies agree that the new French president will have little choice but to continue on the course set out by his predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy
De Volkskrant writes that the “dreary socialist François Hollande... wants to lower the retirement age and renegotiate the EU budget agreement. But he too will have to cut the budget.”
In AD, economics Professor Sweder van Wijnbergen says: “Hollande is no fool. He will soon find out that many of his plans are impractical. But he is right to promise his voters more than just budget cuts. You have to offer people some prospects too.”
Trouw argues that the ‘normal’ presidency François Hollande has promised his voters may be the least of the challenges facing him, since there is little chance he will be able to implement his economic programme of tax hikes and new spending. As a result of pressure from the financial markets, which he once said were ‘the real enemy’, his policies will be characterised by budget cuts.
“Hollande did not prepare his voters for that. A sudden chance of course will undoubtedly lead to disappointment and political problems. At the same time, he will get a chance to reconcile France with the inevitable.”
Political scientist André Krouwel says the fact that both French and Greek voters have turned against their governments’ austerity policies is unlikely to have a direct influence on the Dutch elections in September.
However, he says, Dutch people may be inclined to vote for populist parties which make “cheap promises” about safeguarding pensions like Geert Wilders’ Freedom Party or the Socialist Party. “Those parties have never had the responsibility of governing. Parties in the political centre don’t have that luxury; they have to put forward concrete measures.”
© Radio Netherlands Worldwide