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Afghanistan / Euro Finance Industry In French Political Contest …

  • January 23rd, 2012
  • Posted by EUEditor

hollande-francois-2.jpgThe tempo of the French political season increased on the weekend with the Socialist Party staging a rally to launch its challenge for the presidency, in elections this April and May.

Its candidate, Francois Hollande (picture), spoke of an early withdrawal from Afghanistan  … and pointed the finger at the finance industry, for much of the stress over the economy in  Europe; a topic of interest far and wide, one Australian review even speaking of a world “Eurogeddon”.


Mr Hollande, a long-time Secretary of the Socialist Party, said he would work towards bringing French troops home from Afghanistan early,  ahead of the present 2014 deadline.

His opponent, the incumbent President, Nicolas Sarkozy, said last week he might do the same; after a rogue Afghan army soldier shot dad four French soldiers he’d been training with, wounding 15 others.

The Taliban insurgent movement claimed responsibility for the act; the  tactic aimed at breaking trust and subverting joint operations, already applied elsewhere, as with the loss of four Australians, in two incidents last year.  See EUAustralia Online: “Afghan rogue attack: three victims named”, 31.10.11; “Details on soldier deaths”, 2.6.11.


At his rally, at le Bourget (22.1.12), Francois Hollande said he would take on the finance industry, as too big an influence on government and daily life; reflecting public anxiety over the impacts of financial crisis in Europe.

He said banks would need to separate their financial services and investment businesses, and there’d be new taxes on exorbitant private incomes.

“My real adversary has no name, no face, no party; it will never be a candidate, even though it governs … It is the world of finance”, he said.

Opinion polls have Mr Hollande maintaining leads against Nicolas Sarkozy, from 14 to 18% in a projected second round of voting between the two, three months out from the actual poll. (See EUAustralia Online, “Hollande wins PS primary …”, 17.10.11).


Stress in the European economy has been playing on the minds of commentators, investors and many others elsewhere; this week evident in a review of economic prospects in Australia, talking in terms of a “Eurogeddon”.

The assessment, by the advisory firm Deloitte Access Economics, said the global outlook had to be negative for this year, due to continuing stress in Europe over state indebtedness and weak growth; and that would affect the Australian economy in some ways.

Yet, in a nuanced judgment, reminiscent of the unpredictable ways of  commercial ratings agencies, it saw, at the same timer, chances of more growth in the antipodes.

It thought Gross Domestic Product would be up in 21012, by 3-6%, against 2% for last year.

Where would the squeezes be?

The firm’s chief economist, Director Chris Richardson, was quoted as saying that Australian unemployment could go to 6% (against currently 5.5% in much of the country), and mortgage rates might increase, leading to “a delay in a return to a budget surplus, (which) could drive mortgage rates higher and impact negatively company profits.”

At the same time, he said on Australia radio, a “Eurogeddon” in Australia, would “probably not” take place.

The economy would continue to be propelled by its resources sector and the benefits of “ interest rate cuts we have already had”.

Business and the economy had been living with risk, as at present, for several years; and the talk of failing business confidence?

“We’ve talked ourselves into a funk”, he said.


Angelique Chrisafis, “Francois Hollande stages first major rally in 2012 French presidential race”, The Guardian, Manchester, 22.1.12., (23.1.12).

Deloitte Access Economics (Home), Canberra., (23.1.12).

Vittorio Hernandez, “Deloitte Access Economics Ups 2012 GDP Forecast for Australia to 3.6% Growth”, International Business Times, Sydney, 23.1.12., (23.1.12).

Le Monde, Paris, Le moment de vérité du candidat Hollande, (moment of truth for candidate Hollande), 22.1.12. / …, (23.1.12).