Entries in Francois Hollande (12)


French President Will Receive New Camel to Replace One Eaten

PHILIPPE WOJAZER/AFP/Getty Images(TIMBUKTU, Mali) -- The president of France will soon get a “bigger and better-looking” camel after an apparent misunderstanding led to a West African family eating a camel that was originally given to him as a gift.

Authorities in Mali say they will send the replacement camel to France for safe keeping after the faux pas was discovered last week. The family of farmers in northern Mali, whom President Francois Hollande asked to care for his young camel, slaughtered the animal to make stew.

Malian officials presented Hollande with the baby camel when he visited the country in February.  It was a thank you gift for France’s military intervention to help the Malian army fight back Islamist radicals who had seized more than half of the country.

As the media filmed the presentation of the camel, the animal brayed obnoxiously while Hollande joked, “I will use it as often as I can for transportation.”

But instead of flying the camel back to France, Hollande reportedly decided to send the camel to a farmer whose property had been damaged by French tanks.  It is not clear whether the camel was re-gifted by Hollande or if the family had been asked only to raise the animal on behalf of the president.  It is also unknown what exactly Hollande will do with the new desert animal when it arrives in rainy France.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


French President Proposes Banning Homework

AFP PHOTO PATRICK KOVARIK/LIONEL BONAVENTURE(PARIS) -- Talk about courting the youth vote. French President François Hollande has proposed banning homework as part of a series of policies designed to reform the French educational system.

“Education is priority,” Hollande said in a speech at Paris' Sorbonne University. “An education program is, by definition, a societal program. Work should be done at school, rather than at home.”

The justification for this proposed ban? Inequality. According to a statement from an official at the French Embassy, “When it comes to homework, the President said it should be done during school hours rather than at home, in order to establish equal opportunities.” Homework favors the wealthy, Hollande argues, because they are more likely to have a good working environment at home, including parents with the time and energy to help them with their work.

Hollande’s education proposal is not limited to a homework ban. According to the embassy, Hollande has also pledged to add 60,000 teaching jobs in the next five years. He has also expressed support for extending the school week by establishing a model in which children would attend school for nine half-days a week. Schools would be able to decide if this is spread over four, five or even six days, in consultation with local authorities and parents.

French children typically go to school for 36 weeks out of the year. The school day is roughly as long as an American workday, lasting from 8:00 to 4:00 or later. However, in most schools the week is only four days, with Wednesdays off in addition to Saturday and Sunday.

Hollande’s proposals are not official yet; they’re part of an ongoing national debate about reforming the education system, which is, according to the 2009 Program for International Student Assessment, ranked 21st in reading, 22nd in math and 27th in science among countries in the OECD (Organisation for Economic Development and Co-operation). The United States ranks 17th, 31st, and 23rd in those respective categories.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


France to Start Troop Withdrawal from Afghanistan in July

BERTRAND LANGLOIS/AFP/GettyImages(PARIS) -- Following an attack that left four French soldiers dead, France's leader announced Sunday that his government would begin withdrawing its military forces from Afghanistan beginning in July.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for last Saturday's suicide bombing in the Nijrab district of Kapisa province that also wounded four troops.

French President Francois Hollande had said upon his recent election that his country would start the gradual drawdown of 3,500 soldiers from Afghanistan so that most would be home by the end of 2012.

This plan is two years ahead of the rest of NATO and the U.S., which will pull the rest of the coalition troops out of Afghanistan in 2014.

Hollande insisted that the deadly bombing in eastern Afghanistan did not influence the pullout beginning next month, saying, "What happened does not change anything, it neither accelerates nor delays withdrawal plans."

In fact, Hollande said he was not listening to calls by the war's critics to speed up the withdrawal, claiming it was impractical to do so.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama, Hollande Talk Afghanistan, Eurozone Crisis

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/GettyImages(WASHINGTON) -- In his first meeting with President Obama, newly minted French President Francois Hollande stood by his campaign pledge to withdraw French troops from Afghanistan by the end of the year.

“I reminded President Obama that I made a promise to the French people to the effect that our combat troops would be withdrawn from Afghanistan by the end of 2012.  That being said, we will continue to support Afghanistan in a different way,” Hollande told reporters. Obama welcomed his French counterpart to the White House ahead of the G-8 and NATO summits this weekend.

The new president expressed confidence that France could “find the right means” to “continue and comply” with its international obligations in Afghanistan.

Obama, who plans to remove U.S. combat troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2014, said they agreed that “even as we transition out of a combat phase in Afghanistan that it's important that we sustain our commitment to helping Afghans build security and continue down the path of development.”

Much of Friday’s discussion also centered on the debt crisis in Europe, which both leaders agreed is “an issue of extraordinary important not only to the people of Europe, but also to the world economy,” Obama said.

“We're looking forward to a fruitful discussion later this evening and tomorrow with the other G-8 leaders about how we can manage a responsible approach to fiscal consolidation that is coupled with a strong growth agenda,” Obama said.

Hollande shared the same view “that Greece must stay in the eurozone and that all of us must do what we can to that effect. There will be elections in Greece, and we wanted to send a message to that effect to the Greek people,” he said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Secretary Clinton Says ‘Oui’ to New French President

AAMIR QURESHI/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said that she welcomes the new French president, Francoise Hollande, and is looking forward to working with him. In an interview with USA Today, Clinton said even though Hollande, who is a socialist, will have very different policies from conservative predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy, she believes the strong relationship between France and the United States will continue.

“Different voices may be louder on growth than they have been, but the overall approach of how we support Europe’s recovery hasn’t changed,” Clinton told USA Today. “It’s been our view that there needed to be some adjustments to just austerity, so that there could be growth, both for economic reasons and for political reasons.”

As the two largest and most stable economies in the eurozone, France and Germany have been the stalwarts during the ongoing economic crisis. Both have helped bail out other eurozone countries in trouble, but also set strict austerity requirements for countries to remain part of the euro. Some, such as Greece, have balked at the forced cuts, causing domestic political turmoil and sending global markets into a tailspin.

The Obama administration has taken the position that Europe cannot solve its economic problems with austerity measures alone. Similar to the U.S. with its stimulus packages, Europe should also have a plan for growth that will stimulate the economy and provide jobs for the continent’s unemployed youth, which makes up more than 22 percent of the 18- to 24-year-old population. "We’ve been delivering that message, publicly and privately, for some time,” said Clinton.

It’s a message that’s likely to resonate with Hollande, who beat incumbent president Sarkozy by campaigning against Sarkozy’s deeply unpopular economic cuts.

Hollande reiterated his "pro-growth” economic plans in his acceptance speech last week and warned that France and Europe are headed for a shift. “Europe is watching us,” he said to cheering crowds. “Austerity can no longer be the only option.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


France's First Lady Facing "Protocol" Issues Over Relationship

GUILLAUME BAPTISTE/AFP/GettyImages(PARIS) -- Valerie Trierweiler, France's new first lady, has covered French politics as a journalist for more than 20 years. So she likely anticipated how being the first unmarried French first lady to occupy the Elysee Palace -- and one who plans to continue to work -- might mean new uncharted territory, and how the press might respond.

What the twice married and twice divorced mother of three likely didn't expect, however, was just how much a protocol conundrum her relationship with the newly minted French president, Francois Hollande, would create.

Concerns about just how she will travel to places such as the Vatican or Saudi Arabia -- a conservative society where unmarried couples living together isn't accepted -- have already begun to arise at the French foreign ministry, according to several reports. And just how she will be addressed at official palace functions is also presenting some unique yet thorny issues.

Would "Madame Valerie Trierweiler, companion of the president" or "Madame Valerie Trierweiler-Hollande, the president's spouse" be appropriate?

Trierweiler said she didn't expect her unmarried status to pose problems, telling an interviewer recently that she's "not sure it will come up all that much."

"Frankly, it really is not an aspect that bothers me," she told the daily Le Figaro. "This question of marriage is above all a part of our private life."

A French foreign ministry official quoted in Canada's National Post said most countries to which a French president travels are happy to accommodate his wishes and in the 21st century, being unmarried does not pose a major problem.

"If we tell them 'treat this person as the president's wife,' then they will do so," said the official, who asked not be named.

Trierweiler and Hollande have been together since 2005, when Hollande's relationship with fellow Socialist Segolene Royal, who ran for president but lost to Nicolas Sarkozy, publicly ended. The couple is currently living in an apartment in Paris's 15th arrondissement but is expected to move into the Elysee Palace for security reasons. They have apparently ruled out getting married purely for diplomatic reasons, according to several French media reports.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Lightning Strikes Plane of New French President Francois Hollande

File Illustration. Hemera/Thinkstock(PARIS) -- During his inauguration speech on Tuesday, new French president Francois Hollande acknowledged there would be tough days ahead. Still, he probably didn't think it would start out this rough or this soon.

Just hours after being sworn in, and with heavy economic matters on his mind, Hollande was off to Berlin for crunch financial talks with his German counterpart Angela Merkel. His plane was hit by lightening and forced to turned back, according to the BBC.

Safely on the ground, France’s new president got on another aircraft to continue to his journey.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Francois Hollande Sworn in as French President

PATRICK KOVARIK/LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP/Getty Images(PARIS) -- Francois Hollande was officially sworn in as the president of France on Tuesday, just over a week after defeating incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy for the position.

He becomes France's first socialist president since Francois Mitterrand left office in 1995.

At the ceremony in the Elysee Palace, Hollande noted that the task before him will not be an easy one, citing the challenges facing the country.

"Huge debt, weak growth, reduced competitiveness and a Europe that is struggling to emerge from a crisis," the new president said.

And Hollande will waste no time tackling those issues.  He will fly to Berlin on Tuesday to discuss the debt crisis plaguing the euro zone with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. 

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


New French President Will Meet Obama in DC

PATRICK KOVARIK/LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Francois Hollande, the new French president-elect, received both congratulations and an invitation from President Obama on Monday to come to Washington ahead of the G-8 meeting at Camp David and the NATO summit in Chicago, both scheduled for later this month.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said Monday that the president told Hollande, who defeated incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy, that he looked forward to working with him "on a range of shared economic and security challenges."

The two leaders are expected to address the eurozone crisis, which some economists fear could drag down what little recovery the U.S. economy has made since the recession that began in late 2007.

Hollande, a Socialist, is already butting heads with Germany's Angela Merkel, who favors harsh austerity measures and deficit-cutting.  The new French president wants to retreat from his country's vast spending cuts.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama Calls Sarkozy, Thanks Him for "Strong Leadership," "Friendship"

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama placed a call Monday to outgoing French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who conceded defeat Sunday in the presidential elections to Socialist candidate Francois Hollande.

The president thanked Sarkozy "for his strong leadership and for his friendship and partnership in challenging times,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said in a statement Monday. “He expressed his appreciation for the valued cooperation that has characterized the relationship between the two leaders since January 2009.   President Obama said that he and Mrs. Obama extend their very best wishes to President Sarkozy and his wife Carla in their future endeavors."

Sarkozy is the first incumbent president to lose an election in France since 1981.

Hollande, who was leading 51.7 percent to 48.3 percent in the exit polls, will be France’s first socialist president since Francois Mitterrand left office in 1995.

Hollande’s victory was a clear rejection of Sarkozy’s attempts to get the debt crisis under control through an austerity program.

“Austerity can no longer be the only option for Europe,” Hollande said Sunday in his acceptance speech in reference to Sarkozy’s policies to cut government spending.

Under Sarkozy, France’s unemployment rate rose to 10 percent.  Hollande wants to put France on a different economic track, promising to raise taxes on France’s wealthiest and stimulate economic growth.  During his campaign, Hollande promised to deliver more jobs for policemen and 60,000 jobs in the education sector without increasing France’s total number of civil servants.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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