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February 13, 2012

As a Brit living in France I haven’t been that impressed to see Sarkozy appearing to follow Angela Merkel around, and it seems that France idolises Germany’s discipline and order, while underestimating its need for control over the rest of Europe!  Considering the French State loves to centralise and control everything, can they seriously be thinking of letting Germany become more powerful in their own lands than the French statesmen are?  Yes, I know the French love rules and procedures, and therefore live in awe of a country where it APPEARS that the State controls everything and the people are MORE compliant to this, but things can’t be as simple as that!

So I’m pleased to see the cover of this week’s Courrier International – I haven’t read all the articles on this topic yet, but would still be interested in your views.  Tune into Arté tomorrow evening in the prime slot just after 8.30 for a programme on “Merkozy”, this should be englitening…


  1. February 14, 2012 3:24 am

    Politics is always ugly and no respecter of the truth. Hence Sarkozy’s ridiculous comments about the UK economy when France was stripped of its AAA credit rating, for example.

    The eurozone crisis is proving difficult to solve because the Franco-German axis, which has always run the EU, is torn between trying to save the euro one one hand, in its current form at least, and letting the Greeks leave it now that they realise that that country should never have been let into it. But to keep them in will require large cash transfers from the northern eurozone for some years.

    To your point, IMHO it’s less an admiration for the German way of doing things than a recognition that the Germans have the cash and need to be onside to save the euro. It’s as simple as that.

    Thank God we never joined…

  2. February 14, 2012 1:22 pm

    The Germans and the French have, in the past had illusions of granduer in that they both have tried and failed, (Germany twice) to rule Europe, Napoleon failed as did Hitler and “Kiaser Bill”. Now Germany is trying again, without the thuggery.

    Just look at the infrastructure and the mindset of Germany, it appears to me to be a very insular country. Its car industry is scourced from within its own country, its imports compared to its exports bear no resembalence to fair trading,, for instance, Germany EXPORTS ten times more goods into the U.K. than the UK exports to them , hardly a level playing field.

    Mr Sarkozy, ( I am sure he is a distant relation to Naploeon) realises the mindset and the desires of the average French person bears no remembelance to that of its German neighbour and so he will cling onto the Germans shirt-tails in order that he can puff out his chest and do the Mussolini impression, and no doubt will suffer the the same fate as Italy did back then.

    Germany is envious of the UKs hold on the money markets of the world, and would love to bring that bird home to roost, because once it has that its slice of the European cake will be huge, and she is willing to force through measures within the EEC which in the short term might be painful, but in the long term be very fruitful.

    And finally they then will be abe to call the EUROPEAN UNION as it calls itself now, by the name Germany THINKS it should be called —- THE FEDERAL EUROPEAN STATES OF GERMANY.

  3. February 14, 2012 5:51 pm

    Hi MC and Harry

    Yes, Sarko made some comments about the UK having no industry (if you believe the UK press). I don’t know if that’s what you were thinking of, MC – the comment I’m referring to was during a question-answer session here in France. The UK press blew it out of proportion – but I must add that I find the UK press freer than the French press, but that’s a whole other story.

    Sarko was asked whether the new so-called “social VAT” would end up causing inflation, as it did in Germany and in the UK. He replied that (as he had previously stated), buying French (which is a realistic consumer decision in France for many things people buy), would act as a dampener on any price inflation.

    I’m not saying I like this – because that’s saying to the French “let’s be even more protectionist and narrow-minded than we already are” – and of course, and this was acknowledged by Sarko, doesn’t apply to consumer goods where there’s no French-produced option – computers was the example he used. (what an own-goal!). However, what he was saying is that where there’s a home-produced alternative to an imported item, the consumer can opt to buy this, and this pressure has a lowering effect on prices.

    When Sarko said that the UK had no industry he was doing 2 things, one of which I respect, the other I abhor:

    1) he was only pointing out that one couldn’t expect much downward pressure on prices from the product of UK industry as there isn’t much UK industry – he wasn’t actually launching a sneering attack on the UK, it was a passing comment, and quite a relevant one, to support his argument.

    Except that French industry as a proportion of its gross domestic product is just as low as that of the UK! But it was one comment that was blown out of context. I would be prepared to overlook this out of support because I don’t want the socialist party to win the election (which they will, as the press have said they will and the French are more gullible than the British!)

    2) and this is what i can’t stand: he was playing to the gallery – to a national prejudice – in fact outright racism, against the UK. The Frenchman on the street “believes” (or likes to believe) 2 things about the British (well actually lots of things, but these are the 2 that are relevant here): that Britain lost its empire but “doesn’t care” (the French lost their empire as well but are arrogant enough to think they still deserve to exploit the workforce of other nations – as effectively slaves – whereas the Britain realises that this type of tyranny belongs in the past (or should do). The other belief about the British that Sarko was exploiting for his forthcoming election campaign, is that Britain has thrown away its industry. Now while I detest this type of political posturing, because it’s based on prejudice, this stinger has an element of truth – but as much for the French as for the British.

    And of course, Harry, Germany can wipe the floor with the lot of us as far as exports go – but if anyone thinks that Europe is an altruistic organization, they can think again – much as this argument is made to make the UK look like selfish b*stards just for daring to say no to something that might not be in its interests.

    Sarko will lose the election. Maybe the socialists will at least think twice before selling France out to Germany. Mind you, MC, I hear you on the financial need to pander to the top player in Europe.

    The only spectre of economic tyranny that’s more terrifying than Germany, to me, is China. Apparently they’re buying up businesses across Africa and subjecting their workers to their own unique brand of working conditions – and guess what, there aren’t enough competitors, so they have no choice… just something I heard, must check it out…

    • February 15, 2012 12:36 am

      Hi Emily….

      Sarko is talking out of his backside when he speaks of domestic demand, home produced goods and inflation, but he wouldnt be the first politician suffering from a lack of even an elementary understanding of economics…

      We wouldnt be in half this mess if we simply didnt have the euro. They created it without a thought for its governance and structural set-up (as Professor Milton Friedman said, it is simply not possible to have monetary union without fiscal union, or if no fiscal union then an acceptance that there will need to be large cash transfers from the surplus nations to the borrower nations) and now we are all paying the price for it.

      With China, it is what it is…on present growth rates they will have overtaken the US as the world’s largest economy (and unlike the US, will be a creditor rather than a debtor country to the rest of the world) in less than 40 years, possibly within 30 years. We’ll just have to live with it.

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