Hollande blunders in Obama letter

President comes in for ribbing over his English after signing congratulations letter ‘friendly, Hollande’

8 November 2012

PRESIDENT Hollande has caused amusement and exasperation on the social media after signing off a letter congratulating Barack Obama with “Friendly, Hollande”.

The president wrote an open letter in French offering his “warm congratulations” on Obama’s re-election, which was posted on the Elysée’s Facebook page.

However he has come in for ribbing over his English after trying to personalise it: he added a handwritten “Cher Barack” at the top (Dear Barack) and signed off with “Friendly” instead of a more suitable phrase such as “Best wishes” - he was probably thinking of the casual French sign off “Amicalement”.

“Couldn’t one of his 200 advisers have told him that ‘friendly’ doesn’t mean anything at the bottom of a letter?” asked one Facebook commenter; while another offered the helpful tip that letter sign-offs can be found in the extra pages in the centre of dictionaries.

“Is there no one in the Elysée who speaks English and can check that the president doesn’t make a fool of himself?” another said.

However one commenter thought the sign-off fitted Hollande’s image well: “He’s a normal Frenchman isn’t he?...who mangles his English... Normal!!!!”

In the letter, Hollande called Obama’s re-election “an important moment for the world” and a “clear choice in favour of an America that is open, socially just, fully engaged on the international stage and conscious of our planet’s challenges – peace, the economy and the environment”.

He said he felt confident Obama’s new term would see France and the USA “reinforce our partnership” to foster economic growth, tackle unemployment and find solutions for world crises, notably in the Middle East.

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