CAIRO - The rise of Socialist candidate Francois Hollande to the helm of power in France casts a shadow over the austerity trend across Europe, marking a new shift in monetary policies on the rich continent.
Austerity need not be Europe's fate, Hollande told jubilant supporters in Paris, The New York Times reported on Monday, May 7.
You are much more than a people who want change.
Hollande defeated his right-wing incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy with 51.7 percent of Sunday's runoff vote.
You are already a movement that is rising across all of Europe and maybe the world, Hollande said.
The result is expected to have major implications for Europe as it struggles to emerge from a financial crisis and for France, the eurozone's second-largest economy and a nuclear-armed permanent member of the UN Security Council.
Hollande admitted the festivities would have to be short-lived.
"There is a lot of joy and pride but also apprehension at taking on this responsibility at a difficult time for the country and for Europe," he said.
"In every capital, beyond the heads of state and government, there are people who have found hope thanks to us, who are looking to us and want to put an end to austerity."
Hollande's victory had been particularly closely watched in European countries, especially by Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany who has been working so closely with Sarkozy on the euro crisis.
Though Hollande promised to rewrite the austerity-driven pact struck between Merkel and Sarkozy, the German Chancellor telephoned the new French president on Sunday night to avoid any appearance of a rift.
I may say from my side that FranÃ§ois Hollande will be welcomed with open arms here in Germany by me, Merkel told a news conference.
We will work together well and intensively.
Hollande's anti-austerity drive was also a cause of concern in Britain.
When people think about the economy they don't see it through the dry numbers of the deficit figures, trade balances or inflation forecasts but instead the things that make the difference between a life that's worth living and a daily grind that drags them down, Prime Minister David Cameron said in an article in the Daily Telegraph.
But Hollande's electoral victory drew applause from leftists across Europe as shifting the balance in the rich continent.
The politics of Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy led Europe deeper into crisis, said Sigmar Gabriel, head of the opposition Social Democrats.
The victory for Mr. Hollande will not only change France, but finally help Europe to go in another direction, he said.
Benedict Brogan, deputy editor of the Daily Telegraph, wrote on his blog that Hollande's election marked wholesale rejection of mainstream parties.
Hollande's victory gives the left in Britain a script to follow about an unpopular government detached from the people by wealth and austerity.
Hollande's win, backed by the wholesale rejection of mainstream parties in Greece, the collapse of the Dutch government, protests in Spain and mayhem elsewhere, tilts the balance of the European debate sharply away from austerity, he said.
The right has taken a hit this week, the left is delighted. This will change the dynamic of European politics in far-reaching ways.
In Rome, Prime Minister Mario Monti, a technocrat appointed last November as the euro crisis deepened, said the outcome of the French vote was a call for a reflection on European policies.
"Responsible public finances are a necessary condition but certainly not sufficient for the key objective: sustainable growth that creates employment and is orientated toward social equality, he said.
For this reason it is fundamentally important that Europe urgently adopts concrete policies for growth".
Ireland's Deputy Prime Minister Eamon Gilmore, who is also the leader of the Labour Party, endorsed Hollande's call for a new fiscal order.
Put simply, you can't have economic growth unless you also have stability, but neither can you have stability without growth.It is clear that, with the election of Mr. Hollande, there is a growing number of allies in Europe who share this view.