There are only a few things that a national leader can do to obliterate their own credibility, but Francois Hollande has just played a blinder. He has told a conference in Japan that: ‘What you need to understand here in Japan is that the crisis in Europe is over.’
Perhaps Hollande hasn’t noticed that unemployment in the EU sits at around 12.2% - its highest ever – with more than 50% youth unemployment in at least four countries, and shows no sign of improving any time soon.
Perhaps he also didn’t notice that just two months ago, the world was scared that the situation in Cyprus could feasibly result in the break up of the euro; or that the eurozone as a whole is currently in its sixth consecutive quarter of economic contraction.
Even in his own country, the most recent figures (just days ago) showed that unemployment in France had climbed to its highest level in 15 years.
Still he had more wisdom to impart: ‘I believe that the crisis, far from weakening the eurozone, will strengthen it. Now, we have all the instruments of stability and solidarity.
‘There was an improvement in the economic governance of the eurozone, we set up a banking union, we have rules on budgetary matters that allow us to be better coordinated and have a form of convergence.’
At least no one can call him pessimiste, right? Some may call him débile, however.