• Hollande’s reforms mark clear direction change: Merkel party MP

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    BERLIN: A senior member of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives on Wednesday welcomed economic reforms announced by French President Francois Hollande as a marked “paradigm change”.

    The measures amounted to “a clear paradigm change and it will now depend how that is implemented,” Andreas Schockenhoff, the conservatives’ deputy parliamentary group leader, said on RBB public radio.

    He noted that Hollande had acknowledged he had underestimated the weakness of French economic growth as well as the need to act for sustainable competitiveness and productivity. This was after he had spoken out during his election campaign against the austerity policies championed by Germany in fighting Europe’s financial crisis.

    Schockenhoff’s comments came a day after Hollande’s highly anticipated news conference at which he outlined a new pro-business economic policy to spur growth and jobs.

    If Hollande wants to “make something out of his time in office” and get France successfully back on the economic rails, he must show “courage” with the radical change of direction, the German MP said.

    However the question is whether Hollande’s parliamentary majority will back him, he added.

    “He must now show the authority to also implement the announcements,” Schockenhoff said.

    And he said that Hollande’s calls for closer cooperation with Germany on renewable energy and in defense was “a good sign” for the European Union and euro single currency’s competitiveness. AFP

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