Yesterday’s election of Francois Hollande as president of France, by a 52-to-48 percent margin, will hopefully mark a turning point in the economic fortunes of Europe. Those concerned that Hollande’s victory and forthcoming policy shifts in favor of economic growth over budget austerity might put financial market stability at risk are mistaken. The new French president is no ideologue. On the contrary, he is a pragmatic progressive who realizes that austerity alone hasn’t worked, and that what Europe needs is a realistic strategy for job creation and economic growth.
Like President Obama four years ago, the expectations now resting on Hollande’s shoulders are unrealistically high and extend well beyond his national borders. And like in 2008 change today will take time. But by focusing on progressive, pragmatic, pro-growth policies, the new French president has set out a realistic and achievable vision of the Europe we need.
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