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Süddeutsche Zeitung - Germany | Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Gap in budget forces Hollande to cut costs

France's new government needs to fill a gap of around 40 billion euros in its budget to avoid being forced to submit to international austerity obligations. This was the conclusion arrived at in a report by the audit office commissioned by President François Hollande shortly after he took office. Now Hollande must start using the red ink and make some cuts, writes the left-liberal daily Süddeutsche Zeitung: "After the victory in the French presidential elections the Socialist put on a good show for the people at first. He partially re-introduced retirement at 60, increased social benefits, announced the creation of new teaching jobs and agitated all Europe with his calls for growth. ... Now the free programme is over. ... If he wants to strengthen France he must demand just as many reforms as his conservative predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy. This will provoke a revolt among the radical Left and the trade unions. Then it will be time for Hollande to demonstrate his staying power. At the same time he must convince the French that they aren't making sacrifices for Angela Merkel or the financial markets. They are making them for their country and their children."

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