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Economy

Gayet scandal dogs Hollande on Netherlands visit

media The Netherlands' King Willem-Alexander (R) toasts France's President Francois Hollande at the royal palace Noordeinde in The Hague Reuters/Koen van Weel/Pool

François Hollande's recent pledges to reform France's economy won praise in the Netherlands on Monday, as the French president paid his first official visit to the country. Hollande said that his partner, Valérie Trierweiler, is "doing better" after leaving hospital on Saturday.

Though officially travelling to discuss business ties, Hollande did not escape scrutiny over recent allegations of an affair with actress, Julie Gayet.

The Dutch press noted the absence of his official partner, Valérie Trierweiler, who spent eight days in hospital after the magazine Closer published claims of his affair with Gayet.

"Valérie Trierweiler is doing better, and is resting for the moment at the Lanterne an official presidential residence near the Versailles palace]," Hollande told reporters but he refused to comment further.

It was Francois Hollande's first journey abroad since announcing economic reforms that have won the approval of the European Commission.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte expressed appreciation of France's pledges to cut public spending and payroll expenses for companies.

Hollande said he wanted to deepen business links between the two countries, citing the links between the flag carriers Air France and KLM as an example.

The visit was the first to the Netherlands by a French head of state for 14 years.

Hollande is to visit Pope Francis at the Vatican on Friday before going to Turkey on 27-28 January and London on 31 January.

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