Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Sarko Gets Up the Irish of the Irish

A British diplomat wrote in an e-mail after a meeting with Irish foreign minister Dan Mulhall that the Irish viewed Sarkozy as "completely unpredictable" and were worried about France's impending EU presidency and its possible impact on an Irish referendum vote.

La faim du monde

A pun to make Nabokov proud.

Sarko--et après?

If you're an ambitious politician, it's never too early to begin laying the groundwork for future runs. The UMP has lately seemed almost as much of a foire des égos as the PS. Jean-François Copé, who can't hide his ambition under a bushel basket, has been even more agitated than usual. Jean-Pierre Raffarin has shown that he has claws behind the mild exterior. Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet showed some spunk and some spleen. Xavier Bertrand has been making the media rounds. François Fillon enjoyed his solo flight in Japan. And now it is the turn of Christian Estrosi, who has proposed that the UMP leader be elected by party activists. This makes him the UMP's Ségolène Royal.

Licking his wounds offstage is Patrick Devedjian, while Jean-Louis Borloo continues to play his cards close to his chest, biding his time. Michèle Alliot-Marie may have concluded that her time is past.

Next week Sarko will reclaim center stage when he meets the press, which is squabbling over the choice of interviewers. It seems that Arlette Chabot is out; PPDA will be joined instead by David Pujadas and three "issue specialists." No reason has been given, but I recall that Sarko complained after his last appearance that the interviewers lacked du répondant, which threw him off his game. He sees himself as hardball hitter, I guess. One hardball he'll surely have to swing at this time is the report that the government expects slower growth in purchasing power for 2008.

Firms Cool to Detaxation of Overtime

A survey of firms concerning their attitude toward the reduction of taxes on overtime pay suggests that most do not view the TEPA law as an opportunity and 79% have no desire to increase overtime hours unless economic conditions change.

The Newspaper Crisis

Le Monde reviews a history of the news business in France and contemplates the reasons for its own decline. The newspaper yesterday laid off 69 journalists. It continues to lose money.