Saturday

13th Aug 2022

Merkel to back Sarkozy's re-election bid

The battle for the French presidency took a new turn on Sunday (29 January) when Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel announced she would help campaign for French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s bid for re-election.

"The CDU chairwoman, Chancellor Angela Merkel, will actively support Nicolas Sarkozy with joint appearances in the election campaign in the spring," the conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party said in a statement.

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The duo has long voiced their tandem homily to bring Europe under a tighter fiscal reign and oversight. On 1 December last year, Sarkozy said countries sharing the euro must prepare their budgets together and face penalties for fiscal-rule breaking.

The ideas largely reflected Merkel’s position. Sarkozy’s speech created some uproar in France and led socialist presidential hopeful Francois Hollande to warn that the country should not be led by Berlin.

At the World Economic Forum last week in Davos, one senior diplomat noted that the relationship has since been reduced to Sarkozy just following Merkel’s lead. "It's not even Merkozy anymore, it’s just Merkel now,” he said.

Merkel will now stand next to Sarkozy as he campaigns for the presidency in the coming months. Some experts believe her public appearance next to the struggling president may further weaken his chances for election. Polls in France however indicate that she is more popular, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The two conservative parties – Sarkozy’s Union pour un Mouvement Populaire (UMP) and Merkel’s CDU – are fundamentally the same, CDU secretary general Hermann Gröhe said on Saturday in Paris. Gröhe praised the alliance and then sharply criticized the programs presented by Hollande.

Hollande – who is also leading the polls - wants to scrap the Merkozy austerity-driven policies in favour of one that would funnel money back into more socially adjusted programmes and boost jobs. France is facing its highest unemployment rate in 12 years and the issue has since become a leading concern among voters.

"If Ms Merkel wants to come to France to defend the incumbent, she is totally free to do that," Hollande said "If Ms Merkel campaigns for the incumbent, I'm still going to work well with her when I'm elected in May."

Holland announced last week at a rally of 20,000 supporters that his “main adversary" would be "the world of finance" and that he would ban “toxic” derivatives and limit big bonus pay-outs.

He wants the European Central Bank (ECB) to buy up the distressed euro debt. He also supports issuing eurobonds. Both ideas are strongly rejected by Merkel.

On Sunday, Sarkozy said he would introduce a 0.1 percent financial transaction tax in the hope that Europe would follow his lead. Both Merkel and Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti have expressed their support for the financial transaction tax but indicated they would rather it is introduced by all 27 member states.

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