Monday, November 17, 2008

Deficit

A new estimate of the 2008 deficit: 51.4 billion euros, or 2.9% of GDP, which I think is probably based on an estimate of GDP that is too optimistic. So it's quite likely that France will exceed the 3% SGP limit--not that it matters much in the crisis, since the emergency clause is surely operative. Indeed, this estimate ignores any possible stimulus initiatives, to which France is presumably now committed along with other G20 powers. It seems odd even to offer a deficit estimate until a stimulus package has been decided upon, but we've heard little in the way of concrete proposals from the ministry of finance or the president.

Replacing Jouyet

Jean Quatremer praises outgoing Secretary of State for Europe J.-P. Jouyet but finds fault with Sarkozy's remaining advisors, who, if they are not hostile to Europe, in Quatremer's opinion, lack either the taste for it or the influence to make their ideas count.

TSS

Delanoë throws his support to Aubry.

Dernière minute, lundi 17 novembre 2008

Direction du Parti socialiste : Bertrand Delanoë appelle à voter Martine Aubry

Le maire PS de Paris, Bertrand Delanoë, a finalement appelé à voter pour Martine Aubry lors du vote interne des socialistes jeudi 20 novembre pour le poste de premier secrétaire, dans une lettre aux militants rendue publique lundi. (AFP)

Coordination?

Yes, coordination, concertation, cooperation -- these are the watchwords of the day in the wake of the G20, whose final communiqué fairly dripped with praise for the virtues of a global approach to a global problem. But then we get down to brass tacks:

Christine Lagarde: support for the auto industry must "be prescribed first of all from the European level. ... I believe that the European Investment Bank will mobilize in support of the sector."

Peer Steinbrück: "A short-term fix for the auto industry as a whole makes no sense. ... The state cannot compensate for the loss of private purchasing power and is not responsible for the errors of the manufacturers." And his "alter ego," the conservative Michael Glos, also opposed an auto industry rescue plan.

Meanwhile, in the US, it seems increasingly likely that the Obama administration will favor an auto industry bailout.

So everyone praises cooperation and opposes protectionism and beggar-thy-neighbor, go-it-alone solutions, but it seems that the US will bail (protectionism by another name), Germany will not, and France -- ever the maverick -- will punt to the European level and hope that rain falls on its side of the border.

Show Me the "Culture"

"What if culture were seen ... as a full-fledged sector of the economy, generating income for the country. To reconcile 'culture and money,' 'culture and growth' -- these were the ideas that pervaded the first Avignon Forum, which it is hoped will grow into the 'Davos of Culture' in years to come." So says Le Point. To judge by the guest list, money rather outweighed culture:

Parmi les participants : l'architecte Jean Nouvel, le designer Philippe Stark, les réalisateurs Luc Besson, Claude Lelouch, Souleymane Cisse, l'écrivain Paulo Coelho, Laurent Dassault (vice-président du groupe Marcel Dassault), Louis Schweitzer (président de la Halde), l'écrivain Erik Orsenna, Mathias Döpfner (président du groupe Springer), Jean-Bernard Lévy (pdg de Vivendi), Klaus Wowereit (maire de Berlin), Iris Knobloch (pdg de Warner Bros France), Mats Carduner (responsable de Google France et Europe du Sud), l'éditeur Antoine Gallimard, Guillaume Cerruti (pdg de Sotheby's France)...