Austerity and competitiveness: these are the banners that Hollande has chosen to fly. He promised to reduce government expenditures by €60 billion (3% of GDP) over the next five years, and he praised the Gallois report.
The staging of the press conference seemed to take a leaf from the White House playbook: Hollande, like Obama and Bush before him, arrived at the podium by way of a long, plushly carpeted corridor. He stood, alone, before several hundred journalists, emphasizing the singularity of his position. His tone was mild, but his words were firm, if at times nebulous.
It was an exercise in power projection as a media consultant might conceive it, but to me it was not a role for which Hollande was cut out. Does it matter? Probably less than a media consultant might think.