Ed Miliband is to meet François Hollande

Labour Party

Ed Miliband is due to meet the French Socialist Presidential candidate François Hollande in London on Wednesday. Having suggested on this blog that Ed campaign for M. Hollande in the forthcoming Presidential elections in France, I am delighted that the two centre-left, dare I say, socialist leaders have agreed to meet.

I have picked up that the talks will focus on economic growth. With the EU and the UK in the grip of right-wing imposed austerity this, of course, very welcome. As I maintained in my earlier blogpost, if M. Hollande were to win, as the opinion polls are still predicting, France under a centre-left leader would be in a position to challenge the prevailing right-wing economic orthodoxy. This would, I believe, be of enormous benefit to Europe as a whole. It would also force David Cameron and George Osborne ton rethink their disastrous cuts agenda which is doing our country so much harm.

It is very heartening that M. Hollande is taking his meeting with Ed Miliband seriously. He is bringing with him his campaign manager, former French Foreign Minister Pierre Moscovici who also used to be an MEP, and Elisabeth Guigou, French Justice Minister from 1997-2000. On our side will be Ed Balls and Douglas Alexander, Shadow Chancellor and Foreign Secretary, plus the Europe Minister Emma Reynolds, who helpfully speaks French fluently.

In the context of how to pull Europe out of recession, the meeting is likely to look at Hollande’s idea of a contract between the generations, a concept not a million mikes away from Ed Miliband’s idea of a British Promise. Both leaders are comfortable discussing ideas and viewing the big picture.

Contact such as this with another centre-left European leader is immensely valuable. In the case of M. Hollande who remains the front-runner to become French President, it is completely the right thing to do. Hollande is apparently not meeting David Cameron. I wonder why not?