Queen's University

France's new president sworn in: Queen's University expert

2012-05-23

Queen’s University expert Timothy Smith is available to comment on the challenges facing Francois Hollande, France’s first socialist leader in 17 years who was sworn in today in Paris.

“The new president comes to power in the midst of a serious unemployment crisis, a debt crisis, and an international crisis which make Canada’s problems during the early 1990s look like a walk in the park. And yet, in contrast to Canada, France has had no national discussion surrounding who will pay the price to get the economy back on track. The new president has placed almost all blame for France’s current situation on his predecessor and on global finance. By framing the current challenge around Germany’s insistence on austerity, Hollande has deflected attention on the need for reform regardless of external pressures. High spending in the name of job creation has been attempted regularly since the 1980s. It has not worked. France’s economic future depends on its adoption of German-style labor market reforms, but no mention of this was made by any of the ten presidential candidates.”

Dr. Smith is a history professor who teaches a course on modern France and is the author of France in Crisis: Welfare, Inequality and Globalization since 1980.

To arrange an interview, please contact communication officers Anne Craig at 613-533-2877 or anne.craig@queensu.ca or Michael Onesi at 613.533.6000 ext. 77513 or michael.onesi@queensu.at Queen’s University News and Media Services Department in Kingston, Ont., Canada.

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