October 18, 2016
The self-destruction of Francois Hollande
Reading the confessions of Francois Hollande in his book 'Un president ne devrait pas dire ca', it is easy to get upset. And many do. The footballers did. The judges did. They got an apology from Hollande. How many apologies will he have to issue to calm down the outrage? How can he restore confidence in himself if he shows no respect for others, not even his supporters or ministers, wonders Nicolas Beytout. When is enough, enough? Even Manuel Valls gets himself in position. Sure, he does not want to be Brutus, but if the self-destruction of Hollande continues, Valls will want to be ready, writes Cecile Cordnudet.
La Tribune looked at how Hollande described his engagements in the Greek crisis, and there, too, he portrayed an image that had nothing to do with the reality. In the book Hollande presents himself as the facilitator between Greece and Germany, the big brother who gives Greece a lesson in realism by not rocking the boat. The book shows once more that he does not understand the Greek situation at all. And what sort of brother is this anyway? He sides with the Germans, arguing that if the Greeks do their reforms, all will be good. Hollande does not show any understanding of the rise of Syriza. Recall that, when elected in 2012, he recommended that the Greeks vote for Samaras. In the book Hollande claims that France averted Grexit by sheer persuasion. This is of course utter nonsense. Tsipras' panic reaction after the referendum has nothing to do with French persuasion. The French proposition was rejected in the eurogroup on July 11, and Wolfgang Schäuble’s more punitive criteria were adopted and formed the basis for the acceptance of the bailout by Alexis Tsipras on July 13. The French only negotiated small parts of this agenda. Same in the eurogroup where France was not pulling its weight. Hollande had promised Tsipras support before the eurogroup on 9 March 2015. But the finance ministers rejected the Greek plans. He was not much of a facilitator. On the contrary, later the French joined the chorus putting the blame on the Greeks, for being late in implementing reforms. Hollande’s advice to look for support from Jean-Claude Juncker and the OECD was not helpful to Greece either. Hollande's priority was not to strike a new friendship with Greece, but to save his relationship with Germany. And he acknowledges this when he says that 'if Germany abandons me, this will be the end.’