PARIS - President-elect Francois Hollande of France did not wait to take office to press his agenda for digging Europe out of economic crisis: He met Wednesday with the European Union president and presented his case for joint European bonds and government stimulus to boost growth.
Powerhouse Germany is not fond of either idea, at least not now, and wants other European governments to tighten their budgets first.
That has prompted concerns about the Franco-German relationship that has underpinned European cooperation for decades - concerns that a senior adviser to the Socialist Hollande and a senior lawmaker in German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative party both sought to downplay Wednesday.
France’s election of Hollande on Sunday “will be a factor of unity in Europe,’’ said Hollande adviser Pierre Moscovici.
He said that one of Hollande’s first meetings this week - even before his May 15 inauguration - was with EU President Herman Van Rompuy Wednesday.
Hollande will meet Thursday with Jean-Claude Juncker, the Luxembourg prime minister, who also chairs meetings of the eurozone’s 17 finance ministers.
And Hollande will make his first official foreign trip - to Berlin to see Merkel.
Even European leaders who do not share space with Hollande on the left of the political spectrum “are showing a great availability to debate with Mr. Hollande on the growth agenda,’’ Moscovici said.
Hollande and Van Rompuy discussed the Frenchman’s plan to send a letter to other European leaders laying out his proposals for joint European bonds, government-sponsored investment, and a financial transaction tax, Moscovici said.
As he left Hollande’s campaign headquarters, Van Rompuy said he was totally satisfied with the meeting.
Under President Nicolas Sarkozy, France took a leading role with Merkel on finding a solution to the continent’s debt crisis. Many now wonder how the relationship between the two neighbors will change under Hollande.