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Mediapart Thu 26 Nov 2015 26/11/2015 Morning edition

What became of President Hollande's plans to reshape Europe?

December 21, 2012 | By Lénaïg Bredoux and Ludovic Lamant

During his election campaign and his first few weeks in office, François Hollande promised to take a different line in Europe, expressing the desire to “reshape” the European Union and promote growth to provide an alternative to German-imposed austerity and structural reforms. But since then the German agenda has re-emerged as the dominant force in the EU, threatening to leave France isolated. Lénaïg Bredoux and Ludovic Lamant wonder what happened to the president’s reformist zeal.

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It was May 2012 and the newly-elected President François Hollande was attending his first European Union summit. Speaking to journalists he defended the broad outline of his growth pact and acknowledged disagreements with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. In particular, he noted, they differed on the idea of Eurobonds, a way of spreading the load of European debt to relieve the pressure on those states under attack from the markets. The French head of state had made this one of his priorities.