Too early to clearly know Hollande’s foreign policy’: French envoy

By Joseph Yeh, The China Post

The China Post–It is too early to tell if the newly elected French President Francois Hollande will change the country’s foreign policy or cause any impact on Taiwan-France relations, the de facto French ambassador to Taipei said yesterday. “The new president is not in office yet … so we have to wait until a new government is formed,” director of the French Office in Taipei, Olivier Richard, told reporters yesterday. Richard said the new president will not be sworn in for a few weeks and has first to nominate Cabinet members before forming a new government to outline national policy. In the meantime, the incumbent government will not take any “drastic actions” for the remainder of its time office, he added.

The director made the comments when asked to comment on whether the result of the just-concluded presidential election in his country could mean a major shift in France’s foreign policy including policy toward Taiwan. Socialist Francois Hollande defeated conservative incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy on Sunday to become France’s next president.

This is the first time the French have elected a leftist president since socialist Francois Mitterrand from 1981 to 1995. The new socialist president could bring about a change in Europe’s approach to its debt crisis and how France flexes its military and diplomatic muscle around the world, according to analysts.