June 19, 2013 11:05 pm

Hollande lacks any sense of direction

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Francois Hollande. The French president is struggling to regain popularity as the country’s economy remains in the doldrums and unemployment rises©AFP

Francois Hollande. The French president is struggling to regain popularity as the country’s economy remains in the doldrums and unemployment rises

From Prof John Gaffney.

Sir, President François Hollande has been forced into concessions designed to balance competing interest groups precisely because he has no sense of strategic direction in order to chart a way out of France’s economic malaise (“Hollande’s task: don’t flinch, don’t lurch but keep reforms”, Global Insight June 19).

His method since he was elected has been either to do nothing, or to edge towards solutions without provoking anyone. This has in fact had the opposite effect; the inadequacy of his reforms has provoked everyone, from the unions through to business leaders.

To compensate for this the president and his party are all taking the worst possible course of action – blaming others, from the Anglo-Saxon model and the rich, to the EU and in particular the Germans. The result is a climate that only the National Front will profit from, and a growing sense of foreboding right across French society that French democracy itself is entering turbulent waters, without a captain.

John Gaffney, Co-Director, Centre for Europe, Aston University, Birmingham, UK

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