May 15 - The newly inaugurated French President, Francois Hollande, arrives in the German capital for talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT - NO REPORTER NARRATION STORY: France's President, Francois Hollande, arrived in Berlin on Tuesday (May 15) for talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, just hours after being sworn into office as France's first Socialist leader in 17 years. The presidential jet carrying the newly inaugurated president was hit by lightning en route to Berlin and forced to turn back to Paris, but the Socialist was unharmed and took off again in another plane, a presidential source said. The incident meant he arrived with a delay of almost an hour and a half for his first meeting with the chancellor. Hollande was welcomed with military honours at Merkel's office before the two leaders met for talks which were expected to focus on the euro zone crisis. The pair were to hold a news conference after the discussions. Hollande's comments will be keenly watched by financial markets eager for reassurance that his push to tack pro-growth instruments onto Europe's budget discipline treaty will not sour the start of his relationship with Merkel. In his inaugural speech to some 400 guests at the inauguration ceremony in Paris, Hollande said he would seek to amend a European pact to add growth-boosting measures to deficit-cutting policies that critics say are dampening the bloc's growth prospects. In a veiled swipe at outgoing President Nicolas Sarkozy, who some faulted for being all-controlling and too impulsive, Hollande said he would run a "dignified", "simple" and "sober" presidency and ensure parliament plays its full role.