“François Hollande has initiated change in Europe”, says Hannes Swoboda

“Change is happening in France and with your determination and active participation, it can also happen in Europe”, stated the President of the Socialists and Democrats, Hannes Swoboda, during a debate between MEPs and President François Hollande in Strasbourg today.

Mr Swoboda pointed out that in eight months François Hollande had achieved “tangible results” by imposing his leadership on German Chancellor Angela Merkel. “Ms Merkel is no longer the commander-in-chief she was in the days of the Merkozy couple”.

Since François Hollande’s election, “Europe now has a growth pact to fix the ravages of a blind fiscal austerity”; “a first agreement towards establishing a Banking Union in Europe” and “the commitment of European leaders to strengthen the social dimension of the eurozone”, he said.

“But Europe is still in crisis”, said Mr Swoboda. “Europe must invest in order to find its way back to growth. (…) We must boost the growth pact”, added Hannes Swoboda.

He called for “a reasonable fiscal consolidation that is bearable for the people”. “We must let things run their course,” said Mr Swoboda, quoting former French President François Mitterrand’s famous saying.

Two days ahead of the French president’s participation in a summit that is crucial to the future of Europe, Hannes Swoboda pointed out that the Socialists and Democrats want “an ambitious and modernised European budget working towards growth and employment”. This Parliament will only accept a budget that strengthens policies in favour of growth and competitiveness”.

The President of the S&D Group encouraged the French head of state to pursue reforms “to build a more socially just, more inclusive Europe, and one that is stronger in global competition”.

As the Franco-German friendship has just celebrated its 50th anniversary, Hannes Swoboda encouraged the French president to cooperate with the German chancellor.

“You launched your campaign in France, promising to ‘reinvent the French dream’. Now, as a member of the Council of Europe, you can help us to reinvent the European dream.

“You should say to Ms Merkel:  “Angela, as successor to Konrad Adenauer, Willy Brandt, Helmut Schmidt, Helmut Kohl – all heads of state with a European vision – help me to revive the European dream”, concluded Hannes Swoboda.