By Ray Fleming

THE EU talk is of how well Francois Hollande will get on with Angela Merkel. Will the “Merkozy” double act of recent memory merge into a “Merollande” twosome? Unlikely, but you never know. What seems certain, however, is that David Cameron may have difficulty getting on terms with the new French president even thought they share a dislike of the eurozone fiscal agreement.

The release yesterday of an interview given by President Hollande to Slate, a French news site, suggested that the Entente Cordiale may need yet another makeover. “Britain is relatively indifferent to the fate of the euro,“ he said, “and only concerned by the interests of the City because it is protected against speculation since its central bank can intervene directly to finance its debt. Europe is not a cash till and still less a self-service restaurant.” The meaning of that last sentence isn't clear but it doesn't sound friendly. Mr Cameron may find that M. Hollande has not forgotten the slight he suffered when he visited London in March and was cold-shouldered by the prime minister who had been unwisely singing the praises of Nicolas Sarkozy. At the time I suggested in this space that a brief meeting with Hollande at, say, the House of Commons and a handshake would have been sufficient and not in any way an interference in the French election. Pity.


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