Socialist France in Europe: Implications for Europe and Globe
- DR. ABDUL RUFF
French Socialist leader Francois Hollande, 57, was sworn in as president of France on 15th May Tuesday at a solemn ceremony overshadowed by the catastrophic debt crisis threatening to unravel the eurozone. No foreign heads of state were invited to what was a low-key ceremony for a post of such importance, leader of the world's fifth great power. Jean-Marc Ayrault, the head of the Socialists' parliamentary bloc, tipped as his favorite to lead his government as prime minister. Once the cabinet is named, the focus will move to the Socialists' campaign to win a parliamentary majority in June's legislative elections -- a key test for the party after Hollande's win. Hollande has little room for maneuver. Polls make his Socialists and their allies favorites to replace Sarkozy's centre-right bloc as the majority in parliament at elections on June 10 and 17. The goal has been fixed - reducing the deficit to overcome the debt crisis. His room for maneuver is about how to do it, so people are waiting to see which measures he announces in his first political speech.
Outgoing capitalist president Nicolas Sarkozy led him to the presidential office for a private head-to-head and to hand over the codes to France's nuclear arsenal. As Hollande would be sworn in on May 15 and, in a gracious gesture, the outgoing leader Sarkozy invited the president-elect to join him at an annual ceremony, a national holiday, to commemorate the end of World War Two.
Soon after the swearing in, Hollande flew to Berlin from an airbase north of Paris, for tense talks with Merkel, the leader of Europe's biggest economy and France's key ally. Merkel was a Sarkozy ally and the architect of the European Union's fiscal austerity drive. Hollande opposed the speed and depth of the cutbacks demanded by Berlin, and wants to renegotiate the eurozone fiscal pact. The heads of Europe's two largest economies will be keen to reassure worried markets they can work together.
Germany expects Hollande to agree to additional stimulus measures without a rewrite of the pact. After the talks with Merkel, Hollande heads to the United States where he is to meet President B. Obama at the White House on Friday ahead of back-to-back G8 then NATO summits. These meetings are also expected to be a test for the neophyte leader as he explains his decision to pull French forces from Afghanistan by the end of 2012, a year ahead of schedule.
Hollande overcame an aggressive campaign by Sarkozy, who veered to the right in a chase for the votes. Hollande's election as French president was greeted by jitters on European markets and a dour front in Berlin where ruling conservatives warned the Socialist that Germans were not ready to pay for his promises of an end to austerity. With investors spooked by Greek voters' rejection of parties which slashed budgets to secure an EU/IMF bailout, festivities in Paris after Hollande defeated centre-right incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy soon gave way to a grim sense of getting down to the business of dealing with Europe's deep economic crisis.
Hollande was in demand, even before he formally replaced Sarkozy on May 15. US President B. Obama invited him to meet in Washington before a NATO summit in Chicago on May 20. Hollande, who won a convincing 51.6 percent of the vote against Sarkozy, will also attend a summit of G8 leaders near Washington on May 18-19. He must finalize his team of ministers, as the pressure of nervous financial markets cuts short any hopes of a lengthy honeymoon in office. Fascist Israeli President Shimon Peres, currently on a state visit to Canada, sent a congratulatory message, a statement from his office. Interestingly, both Israeli and Palestinian leaders congratulated Francois Hollande on winning the French presidential election. Israeli terror PM Benjamin Netanyahu said at the beginning of a cabinet meeting: "Relations between Israel and France were always friendly, and will remain such.” Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas telephoned Hollande and invited him to visit Palestinian Authority headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah, the official Palestinian news agency Wafa said. It quoted Abbas as wishing "luck and success in his high office to President Hollande in strengthening France's regional and international role in the cause of world justice and peace." Palestinian leaders have sent messages of “sincerest best wishes on your election to the presidency of France". Palestinians look forward to working with new France to strengthen and expand the ties of friendship and cooperation between them.
Regimes use austerity schemes to cut funding for public programs and refuses to raise taxes on rich individuals and on rich corporations. Austerity programs in Europe favor the rich over the 99%. The cuts in public education in America have resulted in the firing of over 300,000 teachers! Classrooms are overcrowded because of the losses of good teachers. Charter schools were being pushed by an agenda to destroy the public school system.
Europe’s anger over anti-people policy of their regimes is unprecedented. Even as the Greece's two governing parties, which back EU-mandated budgetary cuts, lose their parliamentary majority as anti-austerity parties make big gains, the French people have also shown the door to the incumbent president Sarkozy, who is instrumental in murdering Libyan Leader Col Qaddafi after taking huge sums from him. Hollande - the first Socialist to win the French presidency since Francois Mitterrand in the 1980s - earlier gave his victory speech in his stronghold of Tulle in central France. Francois Hollande has beaten Nicolas Sarkozy by three and a half points, with 99% of the vote counted, and has polled just fewer than 52% of votes in run-off election. The eurozone was a key issue: Hollande insists on adding growth measures to the fiscal pact negotiated by Sarkozy.
As all major political parties, both ruling and in opposition, have sold out, both the voters and general people, to corporations the poll outcomes in France and Greece, should be a lesson to all politicians who have been catering to the 1% rich and ignoring the 99% of the population. The ruing classes do not trouble the rich, but betray the poor. They have chosen to cut society funding like allocations for education of the children, so they do not have to raise taxes to their wealthy donors. Public education has been one of the targets of the agenda of the rich. Children are being deprived of quality educations because of the selfishness of the rich.
Even as unemployment rate keeps rising, the politicians everywhere enjoy at the mercy of their generous wealthy donors, bribes are given by the corporates and millionaires as donations to politicians and parties. Corporations are using all types of schemes to reduce wages of their employees. They bribe the politicians and governmental officials to insert all types of tax loopholes into the fragmented tax scheme even in “advanced” USA so that many of the largest corporations pay no taxes for several years. Most US corporations pay less than 10%, even though the published rates are supposed to be 35%. They do not believe that they have any obligation to the 99% who depend on public programs to educate the nation’s children.
In shaping a new foreign policy, Hollande spent the day closeted with aides who said they reviewed how he may pitch "the priority for growth in Europe" to Chancellor Angela Merkel. Both would meet for the first time in Berlin to relaunch the Franco-German partnership that lies at the heart of the European Union and the euro currency. Like other leaders in southern Europe, Hollande argues that cutting state deficits too hard and too fast may choke growth so far it makes the debt crisis even worse. Merkel repeated she would not renegotiate an EU pact on fiscal discipline, though she signaled some tactical shifts may be possible. "We are in the middle of a debate to which France, of course, under its new president will bring its own emphasis," she said. With other world powers also anxious that a prolonged slump in Europe does not drag down their own economies, and allies and adversaries eager to learn how Europe's second biggest economy and major military and diplomatic force will be run.
Hollande was seen deep in discussions all morning with aides Moscovici and Manuel Valls. Pierre Moscovici said the president-elect discussed how to present his plan to pull troops out of Afghanistan this year, as well as the economic growth strategy. A promise of a welcome with "open arms" in Berlin could not conceal unease among Merkel's Christian Democrats about what Hollande's centre-left campaign pledges of growth and state spending mean for efforts to contain deficits in a euro zone that is struggling to compete in a world of new economic powers. Moscovici would not discuss what demands and compromises Hollande could offer Merkel on May 16, saying only that both parties were conscious of the need to find common ground.
Hollande briefly appeared at the balcony of his campaign headquarters to wave at well-wishers gathered below, but devoted the bulk of the day to work as the turmoil in Greece sent the euro tumbling to a 3-month low with the dollar. French stocks were firmer, however, and the risk premium investors charge for holding French 10-year bonds rather than safe-haven German Bunds was broadly unchanged at 120 basis points.
Welfare spending swallows 28 percent of national income - more than any other rich, OECD country - and growth has averaged only 1.6 percent over the past 20 years, raising concerns over the sustainability of public finances as the population ages. Hollande's aides say he will be a closet reformer, aided by backing from the left. But some commentators have bemoaned a dearth of structural reform proposals. And past attempts to reform the country's generous social model have triggered furious street protests that have thwarted change.
Hollande was buoyed by the same tide of anger over the economic crisis that has felled 10 other European leaders and derailed Sarkozy's 2007 campaign promise to slash unemployment. But economists say he too will have to take early measures to rein in public spending and keep markets at bay, potentially disappointing people and his supporters.
Hollande promises a zero deficit by 2017, a year later than Sarkozy promised, but analysts say an over-inflated growth outlook makes both goals unrealistic without spending cuts. Hollande might quickly outline his domestic plans, likely to centre on a tax reform, and revise growth targets. His plans to tweak a reform that raised the retirement age to 62 and increase the minimum wage are unsettling investors who fear France could drift away from the club of trusted northern European borrowers and towards the debt-laden periphery.
The big question now is whether the qualities that appear to have brought Hollande into the Elysee will serve him as well once he is there. Today France has unemployment of more than 10%. Public spending is 56% of GDP. Public debt will hit 90% of GDP this year. In 2012 the country needs to raise 180bn euros on the bond markets. Next year it needs 200bn.Certainly he has spoken of controlling the budget deficit - bringing it to zero by 2017 is the manifesto pledge. But the argument that this might require painful choices affecting his core constituency among the urban poor and public sector workers has been assiduously avoided.
Socialist and communist ideas took birth in Europe and quickly spread to other parts of the world. However, no where real socialism and communism has been practiced while the regimes systematically promote corporate interests every where, looting nation's resources for the rich. .
France failed to deliver to people when socialists ruled. Now France as a socialist ruled nation must revise its relations with NATO that promote capitalist imperialist wars.
Francois Hollande was elected France's first Socialist president in nearly two decades last week, dealing a humiliating defeat to incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy. A socialist as French president has its implications for capitalist Europe and West as a whole, especially when the unilateral USA has coerced Europe into an illegal war against Muslim nations on the pretext of Sept-11. Europe as part of the notorious NATO and UNSC share the burden of war financing support and promote global US dictatorship.
France is one of the western nations with socialist taste and, unlike the UK; it generally follows an independent foreign policy occasionally taking decisions opposite of USA. A veto member of notorious UNSC and UNSC terror organization, France is a leading European economy with strong ties with USA, but the then ruling socialist leadership of France under Mitterrand had opposed US invasion of Iraq and then questioned the legitimacy of US illegal attack on sovereign Iraq. But recently, anti-socialist conservative Sarkozy promoted the NATO attack on Libya wanted UNSC backed attacks on Iran and Syria.
Financial crisis in Europe forced the capitalist leaders go for alternative routes to promote profits though austerity measures further crippling the common people's economic position and life patterns. Eurozone's austerity measures have been proven disastrous with devastating impact on the ruling dispensations across the continent. People have rejected them all together in Greece and France.
Hollande's win did not impact Paris's creditworthiness although it would scrutinize his policy choices. There was at least a one-in-three chance of a cut to France's long-term rating within two years. While Greece plunged into turmoil after the vote favoring the Socialists left a question mark over the country's future in the euro zone, France was calm.
The EU is America's largest trading partner. The US economy has already suffered in the slowdown in European markets. The US economy might hit turbulence after voters in France and Greece delivered a resounding anti-austerity message over the weekend to their capitalist governments. New socialist leadership in France could cause investor jitters that reverberate through global financial markets.
Hollande has called for a renegotiation of a hard-won European treaty on budget discipline championed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Mrs Merkel had congratulated the president-elect by phone and invited him to Berlin to hold talks soon. UK terror Premier David Cameron, waiting for his ill-fate, also called Hollande to congratulate him. Obama called Hollande shortly after results were announced to congratulate the president-elect and invite him to the White House. Trying to reoccupy the White House for another term and amid a faltering economy, high unemployment and voter discontent over spending and cuts, Obama himself, like Cameron, is probably taking a lesson from the outcome of the French election.
Like Arab Spring, popular anger against the anti-austerity campaigns has spread to entire Europe and Americas. B. Obama is now obviously a much worried presidential candidate now, unlike his earlier candidature when he was a fable hero telling people about peace in Mideast and service to humanity and etc. Unfortunately, Obama did not believe in what he said. He spoke like a orator to impress the public and fool them. In 2013 US budget, Obama continued to appease the rich and offered to make the George W. Bush Jr multi trillion dollar tax cuts to the rich permanent. The great inequality of wealth in America exceeds the inequalities in many poor nations. Our middle class is rapidly descending into poverty because of the Austerity programs that are increasing in their zeal to demolish all public programs..
In USA Democrats and Republicans play joint political circus to shield the crimes of the state after the Sept-11 hoax and both cannot be trusted. It is same that Americans spend over 50% of their federal income taxes on endless terror Wars for Empire, $1 trillion every year spent on the costs of War, while many big guys cutting across Republicans and Democrats loot and money and share among themselves? Obama escalated the state violence in oclcu9ojed Muslim nations, including Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Libya. Manipulative and coercive capacity of unilateral USA is obvious. US led NATO leaders would try to urge Hollande to change or soften his position when he attends a summit in Chicago later this month where the focus will be on occupational massacres of NATO terror gangs in Afghanistan.
Socialism cannot remain an empty slogan for ever. deceptive methods even by the socialist leaders cause frustration and antipathy among the people who slowly lose all hopes and distrust the regimes. People should be encouraged to practice it, feel the changes in their lives and say they like socialism for what is gives to them as common people and they should declare they want to live as socialists and promote socialism. Hollande must help the people to achieve greater equalities and he is required to prove a facelift to social ideas and programs for the real uplift of less privileged and the poor.
Other wise, socialism has no meaning at all.
د. عبد راف
Col Dr. Abdul Ruff, Specialist on State Terrorism; Educationalist;Chancellor-