Francois Hollande was today sworn in as France's first Socialist president in 17 years, in a brief ceremony held at the 18th-century Elysee Palace in Paris. Following his swearing in, Hollande made a dash to Berlin to challenge German chancellor Angela Merkel's austerity prescription for Europe.
In his inaugural speech to around 400 guests, Hollande said he would seek amendments to a European pact to add growth-boosting measures to deficit-cutting policies that critics see as hurting the bloc's growth prospects.
Marking his differences with outgoing president Nicolas Sarkozy, who had been faulted in some quarters for being impulsive and overly controlling, Hollande said he would run a "dignified" and "sober" presidency and ensure parliament played its full role.
"I will set the priorities but I will not decide for everyone, on everything and (be) everywhere," Hollande said.
Hollande's election comes as the euro zone is edging towards a crisis over fears about Greece's future in the single currency. He will give his first presidential news conference in Berlin in the evening, flanked by the centre-right Merkel.
Analysts say his comments would be keenly watched by financial markets looking for reassurance that his push includes pro-growth measures in Europe's budget discipline treaty would not queer the pitch as he seeks to establish a working relationship with Merkel.