Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said that she welcomes the new French president, Francoise Hollande, and is looking forward to working with him. In an interview with USA Today, Clinton said even though Hollande, who is a socialist, will have very different policies from conservative predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy, she believes the strong relationship between France and the United States will continue.
“Different voices may be louder on growth than they have been, but the overall approach of how we support Europe’s recovery hasn’t changed,” Clinton told USA TODAY. “It’s been our view that there needed to be some adjustments to just austerity, so that there could be growth, both for economic reasons and for political reasons.”
As the two largest and most stable economies in the Eurozone, France and Germany have been the stalwarts during the ongoing economic crisis. Both have helped bail out other Eurozone countries in trouble, but also set strict austerity requirements for countries to remain part of the Euro. Some, such as Greece, have balked at the forced cuts, causing domestic political turmoil and sending global markets into a tailspin.
The Obama administration has taken the position that Europe cannot solve its economic problems with austerity measures alone. Similar to the U.S. with its stimulus packages, Europe should also have a plan for growth that will stimulate the economy and provide jobs for the continent’s unemployed youth, which makes up more than 22 percent of the 18- to 24-year-old population. ”We’ve been delivering that message, publicly and privately, for some time,” said Clinton.
It’s a message that’s likely to resonate with Hollande, who beat incumbent president Sarkozy by campaigning against Sarkozy’s deeply unpopular economic cuts.
Hollande reiterated his “pro-growth” economic plans in his acceptance speech last week and warned that France and Europe are headed for a shift. “Europe is watching us,” he said to cheering crowds. “Austerity can no longer be the only option.”