May 11 - Change will sweep France in the week ahead as Francois Hollande is set to take over as the first Socialist president in decades. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
Francois Hollande, making a triumphant return to Paris last Sunday following his electoral victory that swept Nicolas Sarkozy from power. Hundreds of thousands turn out to celebrate the first Socialist victory in decades. On Tuesday, outgoing President Nicolas Sarkozy, will stand on the steps of the Presidential Palace for the last time to greet his successor who will assume power. Hollande is spending his final days before taking over spreading a message of optimism. (SOUNDBITE) (French) FRENCH PRESIDENT ELECT FRANCOIS HOLLANDE SAYING " We are going to have to change what hasn't worked so far. And it's confidence that will allow us to move forward. It's confidence that will allow us to sometimes seek patience, because we won't be able to succeed at everything," But when he assumes power, the burden Hollande will face will be immense and immediate. At stake could be the fate of Europe, and it's single currency, the euro. One of Hollande's first orders of business will be to travel to Berlin to meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Hollande spent much of his campaign pressing for all the things Merkel stands against: eurobonds and a more political European central bank. Political analyst Philippe Moreau Defarges (SOUNDBITE) (English) PHILIPPE MOREAU DEFARGES, RESEARCH FELLOW AT THE FRENCH INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS INSTITUTE SAYING: "Mrs Merkel says: 'we must re-establish more healthy public finances. We must tackle the debt issue. And Mrs Merkel will not move. Mrs Merkel is a very firm person. And I think the first difficulty will be concerning Hollande-Merkel relations." Hollande will travel to Germany hours after his inauguration as president to press his demand to add growth measures to Europe's budget discipline treaty with Merkel. Merkel has already told parliament in Berlin that quote "growth on credit" would just tip Europe deeper into crisis, rejecting stimulus policies that would require new debt. Deborah Lutterbeck, Reuters