Stoltenberg congratulates new French president

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Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg has formally sent his “warmest congratulations” to Francois Hollande after he was elected as the new president of France on Sunday. Hollande beat incumbent President Nicolas Sarkozy and hails from the same Labour side of politics as Stoltenberg and the coalition he heads in Norway.

“My government puts heavy emphasis on continuing the excellent relations between Norway and France,” Stoltenberg stated, “both bilateral and through international organizations like the UN and NATO in addition to our European cooperation.”

Stoltenberg, in his message to Hollande Sunday night, also said he hopes to meet with the new French president “as soon as possible,” adding that “we have a responsibility to stand together” in meeting “future challenges” both in Europe and internationally.

“It’s good for France that they get a president who is concerned with social justice, jobs and growth,” Stoltenberg told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) on Monday. He noted that Hollande faces a tough job given France’s heavy debt and high unemployment.

“But it’s important for the rest of Europe that France succeeds,” Stoltenberg said, adding that he already has met Hollande several times in connection with cooperation between Europe’s social democratic parties.

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