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Date: 15 May 2012
Title: French President to be sworn in
Paris - Francois Hollande, the French president-elect who will be sworn in today, will start a challenging week after the inauguration ceremony, with an array of major missions, including the formation of government and visits to Germany and the United States.
After Tuesday's inauguration, Hollande, who beat outgoing President Nicolas Sarkozy in the presidential runoff, will fly in the evening to Berlin for his first-ever meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, aimed at bridging differences on European policies.
Accompanied by his diplomatic advisor Jean-Paul Ortiz, Hollande will try to rally Merkel on initiatives in favour of growth in Europe.
Although the German chancellor believes it is possible to establish a "stable partnership" with Hollande, the two leaders voiced obvious differences over the Germany-driven fiscal treaty.
The chancellor, nevertheless, has declared reluctance to "further negotiate on the European fiscal treaty" as the French leader proposed.
Their first meeting would be mainly a get-to-know-each-other trip of the new relationship fostered between the two leaders from the two leading European economies.
Meanwhile, Hollande would embrace his first major test from private investors as the French government is expected to raise between 7.8 and 9.2 billion euros from medium and long-term bonds on the same day, said local media.
In its last debt auction held on May 3, three days ahead of the presidential runoff, France sold 7.4 billion euros of long-term bonds at a relatively stable interest rate of below 3 percent.
Another major event on the agenda will be the new French president's first official visit to the United States.
On Friday morning, Hollande will have a bilateral meeting at the White House with US President Barack Obama, where the two leaders would focus their talks on the withdrawal of American and French troops from Afghanistan and the Eurozone debt-crisis.
Although the two leaders may likely disagree on the timetable for the withdrawal of their troops from Afghanistan, with Hollande's plan of earlier return-home of French troops by no later than the end of 2012, two years ahead of NATO's calendar, the two leaders should still share the same stand on the Eurozone crisis as the United States prefers to offset the austerity measures advocated by Germany.
Hollande will also attend the G8 meeting scheduled for May 18 - 19 at Camp David of the US presidential retreat, as well as the NATO summit in Chicago from May 20 - 21.
Domestically, one of the new French president's priorities will be to obtain an absolute majority in the forthcoming parliamentary elections scheduled for June 10 and 17, in a bid to avoid cohabitation and to facilitate the implementation of his policies.
However, polls showed that the left and the right were neck-on-neck in the parliamentary election race, with each gaining 30 and 33 percent respectively.
As Hollande gears up for his mandate to lead the second-largest European economy, his debut performance in the first week would be definitely decisive to set up his stature as the new French head of state. - BuaNews-Xinhua