On a day when the normally understated president of Europe’s central bank called on the Continent’s leaders to “take a courageous leap of political imagination,” two of the most important figures went home Thursday from an inconclusive summit meeting to tend to domestic matters.
It was not entirely clear what steps the president of the European Central Bank, Mario Draghi, was advocating in his speech in Rome, but President François Hollande of France and Chancellor Angela Merkel seemed more intent on laying the groundwork for changes in Europe’s approach to the euro crisis than on any immediate gestures.
Mr.Hollande has cast himself as the European leader pushing hardest to forge a growth-oriented “new path” through the euro zone’s grinding debt crisis, pitting him against the austerity-minded Ms. Merkel.
Unstated in this drive, but crucial to it, is that Mr.Hollande’s Socialist Party is running hard to secure a victory in parliamentary elections next month, hoping to add the 577-seat National Assembly as the last of the levers of French power it does not already control. A Socialist-led bloc won an absolute majority in the Senate in September, a first since the Fifth Republic was founded in 1958. Opinion polls indicate that a Socialist carte blanche may well be within Mr.Hollande’s reach.Page 1 of 5 | Next Page