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Hollande in Germany
Drama surrounded Hollande's journey to Berlin, as lightning struck his plane and prompted a return to Paris, CNN affiliate BFM-TV reported.
The president switched to another plane and flew again toward Berlin, Hollande spokesman Faouzi Lamdaoui told BFM-TV.
As he was sworn in Tuesday, Hollande promised a new approach to tackling the financial woes plaguing Europe.
His talks with Merkel will be closely watched in light of the urgent challenges the continent faces.
Hollande was inaugurated Tuesday as France's first Socialist president since François Mitterrand left office in 1995. He secured election victory this month over incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy, one of the most U.S.-friendly French presidents in decades.
Hollande has named Jean-Marc Ayrault, a senior party member and mayor of Nantes, as his prime minister and asked him to form the new government, his office said.
At an investiture ceremony at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Hollande said he wants to balance the need to reduce the debts of European governments with efforts to stimulate growth.
Underlining his Socialist credentials, he said he wants to discourage "exorbitant" incomes. "It's time to put production ahead of speculation," he said.
Speaking later Tuesday at the Hotel de Ville in Paris, Hollande said he was taking on the presidency at "a significant moment for the country."
"The challenge of this five-year term is recovery," he said. "We have big plans. France will rise again and build on the strength and the energy of its creators, of its engineers, its researchers, those who make it live."
The new president's approach to France's economic challenges is likely to reverberate across Europe as the continent wrestles with an unyielding debt crisis.
Hollande has unsettled investors with his criticism of the austerity policies central to European bailout deals for troubled economies like Greece and Ireland.
As the leader of the eurozone's second-largest economy, after Germany, his opinion matters. And analysts are waiting to see what kind of relationship he and Merkel are able to establish.
Greeted by flag-waving crowds on the street, a steady stream of prominent French figures arrived at the Elysee on Tuesday ahead of the inauguration ceremony and walked on a red carpet through the palace's sun-filled courtyard.
They included the Socialist Party leader Martine Aubry and Bertand Delanoe, the mayor of Paris. Inside the palace, they gathered under ornate chandeliers to witness the transfer of power to Hollande.
The president-elect's car traveled along the tree-lined streets and avenues of Paris, bringing him over the River Seine and past the Grand Palais before pulling up inside the courtyard.
Hollande made his way up the carpet to be met by Sarkozy. The two men, who had fought an at times bitter campaign, shook hands before entering the palace for a meeting behind closed doors.
After they emerged, Sarkozy and his wife, Carla Bruni, left the palace, waving from a car as they were driven away. Hollande, meanwhile, undertook the swearing-in ceremony to become the seventh president of France's Fifth Republic.
Ayrault, his newly appointed prime minister, has served as president of the Socialists in the National Assembly since 1997.
In the same year, Ayrault was handed down a suspended six-month sentence and fined 30,000 francs for political favoritism.
Born in 1950 to working-class parents, he worked as a German teacher before entering politics. He has been mayor of Nantes since 1989 and was widely expected to be Hollande's pick for prime minister.
Hollande's election coincided with the vote in Greece that spawned the current political chaos in Athens. That instability has moved Greece closer to the possibility of abandoning the euro, the currency used by it and 16 other European Union countries.
Sarkozy's partnership with Merkel -- dubbed "Merkozy" by some observers -- was considered crucial in steering Europe's currency union away from collapse during the first two years of the debt crisis.
But Hollande's professed doubts about the fiscal restraint advocated by Merkel, whose party suffered defeat in a vote Sunday in Germany's largest state, have raised questions about whether Paris and Berlin will continue to read from the same script as the debt crisis continues to unfold.
While bracing for the potential tumult from that situation, Hollande will plunge straight into a string of engagements with world leaders.
Major events in the coming days and weeks include a Group of Eight meeting and NATO summit this month, followed by a G-20 gathering and a European Council meeting in June.
His approach is expected to affect Afghanistan as well as Turkey and the Middle East.
With Sarkozy, the United States enjoyed support for its positions on Syria, Iran and Afghanistan. Sarkozy also was a proponent of the NATO air campaign in Libya.
Hollande, meanwhile, has yet to clearly stake out all of his foreign policy positions.
During the election campaign, he pledged to withdraw all French combat troops from Afghanistan by the end of the year.
He can expect NATO leaders to urge him to change or soften his position when he attends the summit in Chicago this month, the focus of which will be Afghanistan.
Relations between Turkey and France have been tense because of Sarkozy's apparent opposition to Turkey becoming a member of the European Union. Legislation passed during his presidency that made the denial of the Armenian genocide a crime also raised hackles in Ankara.
Some observers expect Hollande to show slightly more flexibility on Turkey.
Domestically, Hollande has to prove to the French public that he is capable of acting on his promise to bring people together after Sarkozy's presidency, which often polarized opinion.
Voting in the first round of the presidential election showed large numbers of voters turning to parties on the far left and right of the political spectrum.
That scenario could be repeated in legislative elections to be held next month, where Hollande will hope his Socialist Party can secure a majority in parliament that would allow him to push through his agenda more effectively.