First Contacts With Hollande Camp: Merkel Braces for Possible Sarkozy ElectionÂ Defeat
Angela Merkel initially refused to receive French presidential candidate FranĂ§ois Hollande when he offered a meeting recently. But as his victory against Nicolas Sarkozy seems more likely, the German Chancellery has made its firstÂ contacts with the SocialistÂ PartyÂ politicianâs camp. After all, Berlin and Paris must stick together.
For weeks, French President Nicolas Sarkozy fell hopelessly behind in polls against his Socialist Party opponent FranĂ§ois Hollande, but in recent days he has narrowed the gap. Current polls show that Sarkozy might even manage to narrowly beat Hollande in the first round of voting on April 22. But in the run-off ballot on May 6, Hollande is still expected to win.
That means that Franceâs future president could well be Hollande, a possibility for which the countryâs neighbors must begin making preparations. And that includes in Berlin, where the Chancellery has begun forging tentative ties with Hollandeâs camp.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel still hopes Sarkozy will ultimately win, having found in him a dependable ally, despite their personality differences. Particularly during the euro crisis, she and Sarkozy have stood side by side, most recently in advocating Merkelâs pet project, the European fiscal pact, which obliges the 25 EU member states who have signed up to pursue greater budget discipline.
Meanwhile, Sarkozyâs challenger Hollande has already announced that as president he would immediately try to renegotiate parts of the fiscal pact. From Merkelâs perspective, that would be fatal, as it could destabilize the complete financial architecture of the new European Union.
But her hands are tied. The Chancellery seems to have resigned itself to accepting Hollande as the French leader, if necessary. The important Berlin-Paris alliance must continue to function.