Sunday, October 26, 2008
Paris-Prague: Ça chauffe aussi
Czech president Vaclav Klaus is accusing Sarkozy of trying to "siphon off" the powers of the upcoming Czech presidency. Worse, Klaus notes that the four powers that met privately to formulate a European reaction to the economic crisis--France, Germany, UK, and Italy--are the four who "wrote the Munich accords" that led to the Nazi invasion and annexation of Czechoslovakia. The absurdity of the analogy reveals the depth of Klaus's resentment and of the fissure that now threatens to divide "old Europe" from the new member states of the EU. Sarko had better initiate repair work soon before this crack widens into a rift. Trouble with Merkel, trouble with Klaus, trouble with Bush (first over Georgia and then after Sarko moved away from neoliberalism and toward state capitalism), and perhaps trouble as well with Gordon Brown. The French EU presidency has not gone at all as expected, and Sarkozy has been too busy putting out fires to stand back, assess the situation, and draw the consequences.