Friday, December 8, 2006

Royal speaks in Portugal

French Socialist candidate Segolene Royal went to Porto, Portugal today to appear before the congress of the European Socialist Party. Royal was greeted like a rock star by the crowd and then handed a bouquet of flowers by the Portuguese Prime Minister. She told the audience, "I want, if I am elected, to get Europe moving, to give it breath again...I want Europe to advance by proof and action, it is necessary to build Europe of people, which succeeds in combatting unemployment, against the expensive life, all the forms of precariousness." These were mainly confidence building measures on her part after the rather tumultuous tour of the Middle East. She also pledged to work to create a Europe of technology and the future: "[I want a] Europe of grey matter, intelligence, qualifications, Europe of research, environment, after-oil."

Her partner Francois Hollande also chimed in, saying that "[this] is one important moment, because the presidential election does not relate to only France, but also Europe, at a moment when there is a lack of leadership with Tony Blair at the end of his term [in Great Britain], Angela Merkel in a great coalition [in Germany], Romano Prodi who begins [in Italy]." Though he could be accused of hyperbole, there is no doubt that Europe is entering an era of new political leaders, especially once Tony Blair leaves later this year and Vladimir Putin's term ends in 2008.

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