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A few hours after taking office on 15th May, the French president François Hollande rushed to Berlin to meet Angela Merkel, the German chancellor. He had not yet appointed a prime minister, but there was no time to waste. For all the parochialism of the French presidential campaign, during which both candidates debated only domestic issues, Europe could not wait.

During his campaign, Hollande promised he would never surrender to Berlin; he would twist Merkel’s arm and renegotiate the fiscal austerity pact to which Sarkozy had agreed. Isn’t France the founding mother of the Union, the homeland of Monnet, Schumann…

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