President Hollande has decided to spend his summer break in Paris, or at least close to the French capital, in an attempt to avoid providing further ammunition to those that bitterly criticised him last year for staying at the official seaside resort in Southern France. Former president Sarkozy, who used to indulge in lavish holidays during his mandate, surprisingly had his back then. People usually show a less gentle face when the man at command happens to be a socialist.
Mr. Hollande is also much aware that poor economic performance has dented his government and undermined his public support. But by sacrificing his summer leisure he has not avoided an acrimonious political dispute. In every public appearance he has hammered the confidence message that France had left behind recession. An appraisal widely contended as overoptimistic by the opposition party. Even his economic Ministry contributed to make him an object of derision by disclosing a forecast about a slightly falling economy. Mr. Moscovici was at pains in providing a convincing explanation matching Mr. Hollande’s claims. The best he could do was to point that there was a slight improvement.
Figures for the second quarter announced by the European Commission must have exerted a soothing effect on badly mauled Hollande. Growth is back in France, even if it only amounts to 0.5%. Coupled with a stronger than expected surge in the German economy, Europe is again in black numbers. A most encouraging news especially for countries like Italy or Spain, which are struggling to get back on track.
The French performance is to be particularly welcome. There was much concern about a heavyweight that may drag the Eurozone into a renewed instability. Fortunately Hollande’s claims have proved to be right.