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Austerity-sceptic Hollande wins in France --- and anti-austerity parties gain in Greece

By Tim Montgomerie
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BIFF! France has elected a Socialist president on a massive turnout (81.5% certainly shames Britain) - ending Nicolas Sarkozy's rule and also ending a run of right-of-centre victories across Europe. Some say '75% tax-rate Hollande' will be more moderate than on the campaign trail but IDS has warned of a exodus of French entrepreneurs quitting Paris for London. The Socialist candidate wants to re-negotiate the fiscal pact to place more emphasis on growth.

KA-POW! But will France provide the most important election of the day? Greece has also voted and the ruling coalition parties have suffered slumps in support. Anti-austerity parties have prospered in their place. It is far from clear that a stable coalition can emerge from the election outcome and form a government that is able to fulfil commitments made to the IMF.

DING-DING! Two weeks ago the Dutch coalition also collapsed after Geert Wilders looked at opinion polls opposing further EU-mandated spending cuts and withdrew his support from Mark Rutte's minority administration.

BOOM! Unemployment among Spain's youth hit 51.1% earlier this week. 17.4 million people are now out-of-work across the Eurozone.

While the UK media has been obsessing about the Leveson Inquiry the European continent has been denying the two most touted solutions to its economic problems - austerity or, my favoured solution, the break-up of the single currency area. The next few days and weeks might be very crunchy.

Final word to Chris Heaton-Harris MP:

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