Tag Archives: France

HGI greets France’s Smart Home Ecosystem

HGI announced today an exciting agenda for its quarterly meeting at ECE Paris (Graduate School of Engineering) from June 12-15, which will be centred on the evolution of Smart Home services and technologies. To launch the meeting, many companies from France’s emerging Smart Home ecosystem will attend HGI’s Paris Open Forum on June 12. In the remainder of the week, HGI’s new Smart Home Task Force  will meet to chart the course for the service architecture supporting new usage scenarios in the digital smart home, while HGI’s other task forces will meet to continue their important work in the digital home.

 

The new Smart Home Task Force will set requirements for the next versions of the Software Execution Environment (SWEX) in the Home Gateway (HG), and will determine Application Programming Interfaces suitable for services deployment within the HG or within the Cloud. It will also discuss requirements for the Smart Home services themselves, M2M, next generation communications, and home energy management (HEM).

 

“With the launch of the new task force, as well the HGI Paris Open Forum, HGI will bring together participants who can act as catalysts in ensuring that a Smart Home ecosystem will flourish, both in France and indeed, across the globe”, said HGI Chief Technology and Business Officer, Duncan Bees. “We have had a great deal of interest from the leading organisations active on this topic within France such as Agora des Reseaux Domiciliaires. HGI’s Paris Forum will be a superb opportunity to discuss the business roles, service models and technical building blocks that will lead to creative innovation in the digital home.”

 

France is a dynamic country in terms of telecommunications with a market of 22.8m broadband subscribers at the end of 2011, large deployments of triple play, and massive launch of quadruple play offers in 2012. It was recently ranked 11th out of the 117 countries covered by Point Topic, a leading broadband market analysis company. France has the highest penetration of IPTV subscribers in the world (19.46%).

 

For additional information about HGI, including registration details for joining the HGI Paris Forum as a guest, please visit
 

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100 milliards d’euros pour les banques espagnoles ?

La zone euro met la dernière main samedi à un plan de sauvetage pour les banques espagnoles qui pourrait aller jusqu’à 100 milliards d’euros, même si Madrid n’a pas encore lancé d’appel à l’aide formel.

Les ministres des Finances de l’Eurogroupe ont entamé samedi peu après 16 heures une réunion téléphonique très attendue au sujet de l’Espagne, à laquelle participe également la directrice du FMI, Christine Lagarde. Objectif: dessiner les contours du plan d’aide pour le secteur bancaire espagnol, asphyxié par son exposition à l’immobilier.

Le montant de cette aide pourrait aller «jusqu’à 100 milliards d’euros», a confié une source gouvernementale européenne. «Mais cela n’est pas encore tranché», a-t-elle souligné.

Un peu plus tôt, le Premier ministre suédois Fredrik Reinfeldt, dont le pays ne fait pas partie de l’Union monétaire, avait parlé d’un «chiffre dépassant les 80 milliards d’euros», dans une interview à la radio publique SVT. «Il s’agira en fait d’un des plus grands sauvetages financiers de l’histoire récente», avait-il souligné.

Ce plan d’aide sera le quatrième pour un pays de la zone euro depuis le début de la crise de la dette fin 2009, après la Grèce, l’Irlande et le Portugal.

Conditions

Jusqu’ici, Madrid s’est refusé à lancer un appel à l’aide par crainte de se voir imposer, comme la Grèce, un programme qui irait de pair avec des conditions strictes dictées par ses bailleurs de fonds internationaux.

Mais le gouvernement espagnol semble avoir fini par se résigner, a indiqué une autre source gouvernementale européenne, selon laquelle l’aide a déjà été demandée de manière officieuse depuis quelques jours.

Le calendrier s’est accéléré quand le FMI a révélé vendredi soir que les besoins de recapitalisation des banques espagnoles s’élevaient à au moins 40 milliards d’euros. Mais les banques auront vraisemblablement besoin de davantage de fonds pour s’assurer de l’existence d’un «pare-feu crédible» dans le pire des scénarios, a immédiatement prévenu une responsable de l’institution.

La seule contrepartie exigée du gouvernement espagnol serait qu’il assainisse le secteur financier, selon une des sources gouvernementales européennes interrogées, ce qui devrait contenter le gouvernement du conservateur Mariano Rajoy, qui doit composer avec un chômage de masse et un dérapage des comptes publics, et qui échapperait ainsi à un plan d’austérité.

Une source européenne avait expliqué à l’AFP ces derniers jours qu’«une partie de la conditionnalité pourrait concerner la législation bancaire», qui comporte des particularités comme des prêts personnels d’une durée de 50 ans. En revanche, le calendrier et le choix de la voie pour recapitaliser les banques espagnoles étaient encore inconnus.

Grèce

Une solution esquissée cette semaine consisterait à verser directement de l’argent provenant du fonds de secours européen, – le FESF ou le MES qui doit être lancé début juillet – , dans le Fonds public espagnol d’aide au secteur bancaire (Frob). Mais Berlin est resté muet sur cette option qui pourrait mettre la pression sur le secteur financier et non sur le gouvernement espagnol.

Si les marchés sont restés calmes vendredi, la pression est montée d’un cran avec des déclarations de Moody’s. L’agence de notation a estimé que l’évolution de la situation en Grèce et en Espagne pourrait l’inciter à abaisser la note de nombreux pays de la zone euro, y compris celle de pays bénéficiant, à ses yeux, de la note maximale «Aaa» comme la France ou l’Allemagne.

Sur le plan politique, les appels se sont multipliés: le président Barack Obama, inquiet pour l’économie de son pays, a pressé ses partenaires européens d’agir rapidement.

«Ce qui mine actuellement les efforts pour conserver l’euro, ce sont les incertitudes et les doutes sur la vision à long terme des hommes politiques et la pérennité de la zone euro», a affirmé de son côté Christine Lagarde dans une interview à la presse allemande.

Un sommet des dirigeants de l’UE, qui doit ouvrir la voie à un renforcement de l’intégration européenne, est prévu les 28 et 29 juin à Bruxelles.

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French Competition Authority to market test Canalsat-TPS merger

The investigation services of the French Competition Authority have begun a market test to gain stakeholder views on possible solutions that could address the effects of the TPS-Canalsat merger.

The market test will focus on whether any anti-competitive effects have resulted from the merger and will include some measures that were suggested by market players. It will, says the Authority, provide, in a transparent way, “the opportunity for interested stakeholders to share their analysis on remedies that could be deemed necessary at the end of the procedure.”

Interested stakeholders can submit their comments by Wednesday 6 June 2012.

Following the 2007 merger and acquisition by Canal+ group of TPS activities, 59 commitments had been implemented by the parties. On 20 September 2011, the Competition Authority established that 10 of these commitments were breached by the parties and decided to withdraw its decision to authorise the merger.

As a consequence, on 24 October 2011 the Vivendi and Canal Plus groups, which simultaneously filed an appeal against the Authority’s withdrawal decision before French Administrative Supreme Court, Conseil d’Etat, changed the terms of their acquisition of sole control of TPS and CanalSatellite. The application was then completed by the parties at the request of the investigation services. On 28 March 2012, an in-depth examination of the merger was opened.

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Hollande a supplanté Merkel à Bruxelles, juge la presse allemande

Le président français François Hollande a imposé les euro-obligations comme principal thème du sommet européen mercredi à Bruxelles, remettant en cause la domination de la chancelière Angela Merkel sur ces rendez-vous, estime jeudi la presse allemande.

«Hollande fixe l’agenda européen» titrait jeudi matin le site internet deDie Zeit, appuyé par celui du Spiegel qui estimait que «Hollande vole la vedette à Merkel». Mais les deux hebdomadaires de centre gauche partagent les mêmes doutes sur les résultats concrets que François Hollande obtiendra au final.

«C’est le premier sommet européen depuis des années qui n’est pas dominé par Merkel», estime le Spiegel sur son site internet, soulignant que c’était aussi «la première fois depuis des années que les Allemands et les Français ne se rencontrent pas avant le sommet pour établir une position commune». L’hebdomadaire juge cependant «improbable» une victoire de Hollande sur les eurobonds.

Avec les euro-obligations, ces emprunts européens communs dont Berlin ne veut pas entendre parler, François Hollande «a choisi à dessein» un sujet controversé pour «défier» la chancelière et affirmer «que Merkozy (le duo qu’elle formait avec l’ancien président Nicolas Sarkozy) c’est du passé».

Die Zeit voit, quant à lui, la chancelière «sur la défensive». «Il est délicat de constamment dire non quand la situation en Europe ne s’améliore toujours pas. C’est d’autant plus difficile quand un autre (responsable) fait sans cesse des propositions», commente l’hebdomadaire.

Beaucoup plus belliqueux, le Süddeutsche Zeitung voit quant à lui Merkel et Hollande «sur une trajectoire de collision» et estime qu’ils se sont rendus «coup pour coup» lors de ce sommet, chacun ayant des alliés de poids.

Le quotidien populaire Bild relève sur son site web qu’on a «beaucoup parlé pour aucun résultat» concret.

En se disputant sur les euro-obligations, la France et l’Allemagne «ont marqué leur territoire», et «jamais les Etats-membres – et particulièrement les moteurs européens allemand et français – n’ont été aussi éloignés sur leurs revendications qu’aujourd’hui», juge le quotidien le plus lu d’Allemagne.

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Invitation: Vernissage – Fiammetta Ghedini

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Auf Wiedersehen, Mon Ami – Foreign Policy (by Benjamin Weinthal)

If the results of the latest elections are any indication, Europeans will elect anyone from communists to fascists if they promise to fight German Chancellor Angela Merkel over the financial austerity measures she has imposed on the eurozone.

French Socialist François Hollande rode to victory on a wave of popular dissatisfaction on Sunday, May 6, defeating President Nicolas Sarkozy, a close ally of Merkel. “You did not resist Germany,” Hollande declared in a televised debate late last week, accusing Sarkozy of acquiescing to German economic measures that require France and other EU states to make deep, painful cuts to their social welfare spending.

Hollande now joins the collapsed Dutch government of Prime Minister Mark Rutte — which unraveled in late April over resistance to economic belt-tightening — to deliver a one-two austerity punch to Germany. Compounding Merkel’s political isolation on Sunday, May 6, voters knocked her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) out of a governing coalition in a regional election. Although the CDU secured the most votes in the northern state of Schleswig-Holstein, it was the party’s worst electoral performance since 1950.

In a shot across the Rhine, Hollande declared in his victory speech in the small southwestern French town of Tulle that “austerity is no longer inevitable.”

Yet for all his bluster, Hollande likely won’t be able to impose radical change on Europe’s core economics. The powerful German economy has kept the euro afloat as Greece, Italy, Spain, and other countries have drawn perilously close to the brink of collapse. Its manufacturing and exports businesses remain the engine of European prosperity.

Under the fiscal treaty Merkel advanced this year, EU member states are required to ensure that their “deficits do not exceed 3 percent of their gross domestic product at market prices” and must maintain strict limits on government debt. The treaty goes to great lengths — with corrective measures and potential legal action against member states — to prevent a repeat of a Greek-style economic meltdown.

On Sunday, however, Hollande promised a “new start for Europe,” spelling a possible wholesale revision of the fiscal treaty. All this has investors (and speculators) worried: His victory on Sunday, along with the weekend’s anti-austerity Greek election results, prompted the euro to sink to an eye-popping almost-five-month low of $1.2988.

All this helps explain Gideon Rachman’s recent Financial Timescommentary, “No Alternative to Austerity,” in which he notes that France is “a country where the state already consumes 56 per cent of gross domestic product, which has not balanced a budget since the mid-1970s, and which has some of the highest taxes in the world.”

Of course, this is all anathema to the rule-abiding Germans. In 2003, Merkel’s predecessor, Social Democratic Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, introduced his Agenda 2010, a sort of watered-down version of U.S. President Bill Clinton’s “welfare-to-work” program, which cut taxes, unemployment benefits, and other social welfare programs. The reforms brought German unemployment down from over 5 million in 2005 to 2.8 million today. Merkel has since led the way in imposing similar discipline across the eurozone, and Sarkozy has helped her.

“Europe must be pulled out of paralysis,” declared Sarkozy on his first presidential visit to Berlin after his May election victory nearly five years ago, urging the German leader to join him and “take the initiative.” Merkel reciprocated, culminating in a political alliance to retain EU unity and eventually impose robust fiscal discipline on the 17 eurozone countries. The unlikely and oft-quoted fusion of these two leaders — Merkozy — advanced an ambitious plan to prevent the European Union from fragmenting.

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Greek election: Far-left seeks anti-austerity coalition

Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras. Photo: 7 May 2012

The leader of Greece’s far-left is to try to form a government after parties backing an international bailout deal failed to assemble a coalition.

Alexis Tsipras aims to put together a cabinet that will reject austerity measures imposed as part of the deal.

But analysts also say his attempts, following Sunday’s poll, are likely to fail to achieve the necessary numbers.

Voters in Greece, France and Italy have all largely swung in favour of anti-austerity candidates this week.

In Greece, both the centre-right New Democracy and former coalition partners Pasok, the traditional parties of power, saw their support drain away in favour of radical parties on the left and right.

France’s President-elect, Socialist Francois Hollande, said in his victory speech that he would seek an alternative to austerity.

And partial results from local elections in Italy suggest a marked swing away from mainstream parties. An anti-euro protest movement led by comedian Beppe Grillo made significant inroads in Parma and Genoa.

Reacting to the election results, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said austerity measures were “not negotiable” and described Greece’s reforms as of “utmost importance”.

Markets slumped following the election results in France and Greece, but largely recovered later. The Athens stock exchange, however, had plunged 6.67% by the end of Monday.

In return for two EU/IMF bailouts worth a total of 240bn euros (£190bn; $310), Greece agreed to make deep cuts to pensions and pay, raise taxes and slash thousands of public sector jobs.

Numbers game

Mr Tsipras, who heads the Syriza group, will on Tuesday be officially given three days to negotiate a coalition by President Karolos Papoulias.

The 38-year-old party leader has already promised to stitch together a left-wing cabinet to reject the “barbaric” measures associated with the bailout deal.

“We will exhaust all possibilities to reach an understanding, primarily with the forces of the left,” Mr Tsipras said.

But the numbers just do not seem to add up, the BBC’s Matthew Price in Athens says.

Earlier on Monday, New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras admitted he had failed to find a coalition cabinet, stressing that his party had done “everything possible” to form a government.

“I tried to find a solution for a government of national salvation, with two aims: for the country to remain in the euro and to change the policy of the bailout by renegotiation,” he said in a televised address.

“We directed our proposal to all the parties that could have participated in such an effort, but they either directly rejected their participation, or they set as a condition the participation of others who did not accept.”

If Mr Tsipras fails to clinch a coalition deal, the mandate then passes to Pasok leader and ex-finance minister Evangelos Venizelos.

Mr Venizelos said Syriza and the smaller leftist party of Fotis Kouvelis should be involved in any new coalition.

“It is necessary for the government of national unity to include all the forces that have a pro-European outlook,” Mr Venizelos said. “The minimum level of agreement is that Greece remains in the euro.”

Snap elections will be called if no agreement is found, with analysts saying the polls could be held in the summer.

Despite emerging as the biggest party, New Democracy’s support slipped from 33.5% in the last election to less than 19% on Sunday.

Support for the centre-left Pasok, which also supported the austerity measures, plummeted from 43% to just over 13%.

Syriza took 16.8%, while fellow anti-bailout party, the ultra-nationalist Golden Dawn, won almost 7%.

The financial chaos has sparked huge social unrest, and led to a deep mistrust of the parties considered to be the architects of austerity.

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Liberation en direct- François Hollande : «Le 6 mai, une nouvelle espérance»

François à Hollande à Tulle, ce soir<br /><br /><br />

 

L’ESSENTIEL

François Hollande est élu président de la République française avec 51,1% des voix ; son concurrent, le président sortant Nicolas Sarkozy a recueilli 48,9% des suffrages selon les premières estimations. «Le changement que je vous propose doit être à la hauteur de la France, il commence maintenant», a déclaré François Hollande, dans son premier discours présidentiel à Tulle, en Corrèze. Plus tôt dans la soirée, Nicolas Sarkozy avait félicité son concurrent.

Les sympathisants de François Hollande se massent, ce soir, au siège du Parti socialiste, rue de Solférino, et sur la place de la Bastille à Paris.

Suivez le récit de la soirée avec nos envoyés spéciaux, en écoutant la playlist politique de Sophian Fanen. Et de l’ambiance.

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Hollande Beats Sarkozy in French Election – NY Times

PARIS — François Hollande swept to victory on Sunday, becoming the first Socialist to become president of France since François Mitterrand left office in 1995.

Mr. Hollande campaigned on a kinder, gentler, more inclusive France, but his victory over President Nicolas Sarkozywill also be seen as a challenge to the German-dominated policy of economic austerity in the euro zone, which is suffering from recession and record unemployment.

French voters may not like belt-tightening, but both Mr. Hollande and Mr. Sarkozy had promised to balance the budget in the next five years. The vote was viewed domestically as a rejection of the unpopular Mr. Sarkozy himself and his relentless effort to appeal to the voters of the far right National Front. Mr. Sarkozy is the first incumbent president to lose since 1981.

With about half the vote counted, preliminary results released by the Interior Ministry shortly after the last polling stations closed showed Mr. Hollande had secured about 51 percent of the vote while Mr. Sarkozy, of the center-right Union for a Popular Movement, won about 49 percent. Opinion pollsters suggested that the final result would be closer to 52 percent versus 48 percent.

“The French did not want to elect a president who is powerless: it must be given a majority, otherwise it would be absurd,” said Pierre Moscovici, Mr. Hollande’s campaign director. He called on voters to “amplify this victory” in legislative elections next month.

Mr. Sarkozy conceded defeat minutes after the polls closed, and said that he accepted “total responsibility” for Sunday’s result.

He told voters that he had called Mr. Hollande to wish him “good luck,” and thanked “the millions of French who voted for me.”

“My involvement in the life of my country will be different now,” Mr. Sarkozy said. “But time will never weaken the ties between us.”

Speaking to party members, Mr. Sarkozy, who campaigned energetically to the end, told them to “remain united” and not give in to division. He said he would not lead the party into June’s legislative elections, he said but “they are winnable.”

Mr. Sarkozy said: “I become a citizen among you.”

With anxieties rising again over the fate of the single currency, the election in France — as well as a snap parliamentary election in Greece on Sunday — was closely watched in European capitals and particularly in Berlin, where Chancellor Angela Merkel has led the drive to cure the euro zone debt and banking crisis with deep budget cuts and caps on future spending.

Such policies have come at a heavy political price for many of Europe’s leaders, whose opponents, emboldened by waves of voter resentment, have vowed to challenge the German push for deficit and debt reduction in favor of measures to stimulate economic growth.

With his defeat, Mr. Sarkozy becomes the latest leader of a country to fall victim to theEuropean debt crisis. Voters in Greece on appeared to radically redraw the political map in the country, bolstering the far left and neo-Nazi right in a wave of protest against the dominant political parties they blame for the country’s economic collapse.

But the shift in France could prove to be the most crucial. While crowds in the streets of Paris cheered Mr. Hollande’s victory, investors were a bit more cautious. Investors are concerned that Mr. Hollande might choose to spend more money to jumpstart the economy, rather than move ahead with labor market and business reforms that economists say France sorely needs to lift competitiveness and prevent it from getting caught in the euro’s financial criss.

“Markets will not attack France right away,” said Jacob Funk Kirkegaard, a research fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington. “But there is a risk that if Mr. Hollande does not act early on, France will become the next sick man of Europe.”

Earlier on Sunday, dressed in a dark suit and accompanied by his partner, the journalist Valérie Trierweiler, Mr. Hollande, 57, cast his vote in Tulle, the capital of his Corrèze constituency. Conceding that he had slept “only briefly” overnight, Mr. Hollande, told reporters he was bracing for a long day.

“It’s up to the French people to decide if it’s going to be a good day,” he said.

Under gray skies and amid intermittent rain showers, Nicole Hirsch, a 60-year-old retiree in the working-class 20th Arrondissement of Paris, said she was voting for Mr. Hollande in the hope that he would “bring the change that France needs.”

Opinion polls published on Friday, the last day of campaigning, showed the gap between Mr. Sarkozy and Mr. Hollande had narrowed to between four and five percentage points. And Mr. Sarkozy had remained confident, predicting that the election would be decided by “a razor’s edge,” and spoke of a possible “surprise.”

But his campaign suffered double setbacks last week.

On Tuesday, Marine Le Pen — the candidate of the populist National Front who garnered 18 percent of the first-round vote — refused to endorse either the president or Mr. Hollande, saying she would cast a blank ballot. Then, on Friday, François Bayrou, a centrist who finished in fifth with 9 percent of the vote, endorsed Mr. Hollande.

Analysts have said Mr. Sarkozy will need the votes of an overwhelming majority of Ms. Le Pen’s supporters to win. But the latest surveys show the president getting little more than 50 percent of the National Front vote.

Mr. Sarkozy and his wife, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, cast their votes shortly before midday at a high school in the staid 16th Arrondissement of Paris. The couple left without speaking to the media.

Juan Carlos Velaure, a 57-year-old lawyer, said he voted for Mr. Hollande because he was fed up with Mr. Sarkozy’s governing style and his conception of the presidency. “He ruled over everyone,” Mr. Velaure said.

He remained unsure, however, whether Mr. Hollande would be up to the task of guiding France and Europe through the economic crisis.

“I don’t know if Hollande will help, but he is changing minds in Europe” about the need to stimulate growth along with achieving fiscal discipline, he said. “The future of France is uncertain. I couldn’t say if feel optimistic or pessimistic at this moment. We will have to see what the future holds.”

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Sarkozy fails to land the killer blow – The Economist

THIS was not a man who debated like a caramel pudding. For weeks, Nicolas Sarkozy’s people have been predicting that François Hollande, who once earned the nickname “Flanby” within his own party in reference to a wobbly dessert popular in France, would “self-destruct” when put face-to-face with the combative president.

It didn’t happen. During nearly three hours of live televised debate last night, covering wonkish detail on everything from European debt mutualisation to nuclear reactors, Mr Hollande kept his calm and held his own. This is unlikely to sway voters who are unconvinced by his arguments. But it did undermine the judgment that he does not have what it takes to be president.

With the two moderators sitting there mutely like table decorations, the candidates traded insults as well as statistics. Mr Sarkozy accused Mr Hollande of not sanctioning his Socialist friends who had compared the president to Pétain or Franco. Mr Hollande retorted that Mr Sarkozy’s camp had likened him to “beasts” and “animals in the zoo”.

Mr Sarkozy repeatedly accused Mr Hollande of “lying” and “slander”. Mr Hollande punched back with: “You are incapable of holding an argument without being unpleasant.” With reference to Mr Hollande’s effort to campaign as a “normal” would-be president, Mr Sarkozy declared: “Your normality does not measure up to what is at stake.”

On economic policy, Mr Sarkozy put in a feisty performance, and did a good job of exposing the contradictions in Mr Hollande’s programme. At one point, for example, the Socialist candidate declared that France had lost competitiveness to Germany, which he said now performs better “in every domain”. In that case, asked Mr Sarkozy, why do you embrace policies, such as the 35-hour working week, which run against everything Germany has done to reform its economy over the past ten years?

But even for a skilled debater like Mr Sarkozy this was not quite enough. His best catchphrases were batted back. “You want fewer rich people; I want fewer poor!” declared Mr Sarkozy. Without missing a beat, Mr Hollande replied: “And there are more poor people, and the rich have got richer!”

Mr Sarkozy’s real difficulty was that Mr Hollande kept turning the debate back to the incumbent’s own record. It was missing the point, he said, to declare that France was doing less badly than Spain or Italy: unemployment and debt have soared on Mr Sarkozy’s watch. “With you,” snapped Mr Hollande, “it’s very simple: it’s never your fault.”

For a voter who doesn’t share Mr Hollande’s logic, his performance last night won’t have made any difference. What it did, though, is show him to be more solid, and have a firmer grasp of detail and a tougher temperament than the image that even his own friends were once happy to spread—before he started to look like a winner.

There was no single killer strike, nor gaffe, last night; both contesters played hardball, and for once dealt with the issues. But my view is that, for Mr Sarkozy, this will not be enough. As Christophe Barbier, editor of L’Express magazine noted last night, he needed to dominate his opponent, not just to match him. And, on that score, he did not succeed.

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