Socialist presidential candidate François Hollande was attacked with a bag of flour yesterday just after giving a speech.

"/> Socialist presidential candidate François Hollande was attacked with a bag of flour yesterday just after giving a speech.

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EVA JOLY

Security fears raised after flourbomb attack

Socialist presidential candidate François Hollande was attacked with a bag of flour yesterday just after giving a speech.

Security fears raised after flourbomb attack
BFM TV screenshot

The incident took place in Paris at a meeting where Hollande had given an address to a charity for the homeless.

As he was signing a pledge in support of the charity, a woman climbed onto the stage and made towards him with a bag of flour.

She managed to tip the contents over Hollande, covering him in the white powder, while shocked guards hurriedly wrestled her to the ground.

Hollande appeared unperturbed by the attack and even continued signing the contract.

Later he said that such attacks were “a risk of the job.”

“There’s always someone a bit more deranged than others,” he told the media. “The main thing is that I was able to deliver the message I wanted to on the housing situation and was well received by this charity.”

The woman was named by media as Claire Seguin from the northern town of Lille. She claims to have had housing difficulties and to be under attack from local Socialists.

A police officer from the elite protection squad SPHP (Service de Protection des Hautes Personnalités) told Le Parisien newspaper that bodyguards had failed to do their job.

“On the pictures you can see that his escort is too far away and badly positioned,” he said. 

“Candidates don’t like a heavy police presence as it’s damaging for their image. However, sometimes it’s necessary to impose our methods.”

“Yesterday it was flour, but it could have been acid,” he said.

As reported in The Local on Wednesday, fears about the security of candidates have led to police protection being assigned to the Green party candidate Eva Joly.

The Norwegian-born former magistrate has received threatening messages since she launched her campaign, including a letter containing a bullet.

By coincidence, Hollande’s own protection was already due to be increased from Thursday.

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FRANCOIS HOLLANDE

Hollande steps up eurobonds push

President Francois Hollande stepped up his push Thursday for the launch of eurobonds after a summit of EU leaders in Brussels exposed divisions on the issue.

Hollande steps up eurobonds push
LCP Assemblee Nationale

Hollande said he wanted to see eurobonds “written into the agenda” of the European Union going forward, saying he saw jointly pooled eurozone debt as a fundamental means of bolstering the debt-stricken single currency.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has repeatedly come out against eurobonds and Hollande told a news conference after five hours of talks among EU leaders in Brussels he had a “different conception” of what eurobonds offer Europe.

He said: “There is perhaps a means by which to mutualise… future debt to enable countries… to access financing more easily on (money) markets.”

Suggesting this would allow governments to “finance investments”, the new Socialist president said that pooling liabilities for past debts was “unacceptable” but that eurobonds could help countries paying high borrowing costs, such as Spain and Italy.

Merkel said there had been a “balanced” discussion on eurobonds.

“There was a debate on the subject of eurobonds, but very balanced and with different points of view,” she said after the summit.

She said she had “explained the German position” and Hollande “said what he had already said previously, but there were broad differences”.

Several participants expressed doubts about the benefits of interest rates being unified across the eurozone, Merkel added.

Hollande said he was not alone at the EU table in favouring the introduction of eurobonds.

EU president Herman Van Rompuy said the subject was “briefly touched upon” by several leaders “in the framework of deepening the monetary and economic union”.

However, he stressed: “There was nobody asking for the immediate introduction of this.”

He underlined, as leaders begin preparing ideas for a growth pact ahead of a full summit on June 28-29: “We have to consider what the legal implications of all this are.”

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