"It is in the name of European values that I want to redirect the construction of the Union," he told supporters in Lorient, Brittany. The none-too veiled reference was to the promise in his manifesto to renegotiate the fiscal treaty by inserting growth alongside rigour. This idea he repeated shortly after in an attack on the decision to subject budget decisions made by individual countries to those made in Brussels: "France deserves respect; it is the French people who should decide on their future, and they alone," Mr Hollande declared. "We need the country to take its destiny into its own hands".
These are strong words and they are aimed at preparing European partners and financial markets of the Socialist candidate's behaviour should he be crowned at France's presidential palace. But at the same time, the message aims to persuade as many electors as possible to transform his first-round success into a final one, pushing his supporters to remain mobilised.
The response from financial markets was immediate: the phantom of crashing indexes repeatedly evoked by Sarkozy appears to have come true today - at least in part. Despite a paradoxically mild level of loss on the Paris stock market (down by 2.83%), most markets suffered on a day made more nervous by a government crisis in Holland. (ANSAmed).