Angela Merkel in the end decided to go along with the Brown-Sarkozy plan of 200 billion euros in stimulus, about 1.5 percent of GDP. This is smaller than the expected US package, but Europe has a larger share of welfare state spending, hence more in the way of automatic stabilizers than the US. Now we'll see what happens. With the failure of the auto bailout plan in the US Senate, don't expect the European announcement to halt the slide in the US stock market.
ADDENDUM: Or maybe all is not what it appears to be: according to Die Zeit, Merkel promised no more in Brussels than she had in Berlin.
Friday, December 12, 2008
Bruno Le Maire will replace Jean-Pierre Jouyet as the man in charge of European affairs. Le Maire speaks German, which might help to smooth the strained relations between Sarkozy and his German interlocutors Merkel and Steinbruck. The appointment demonstrates that Sarkozy's grudge against Villepin doesn't extend to one of Villepin's closest collaborators, whose portrait of Sarko in Des hommes d'État, while respectful, is not altogether flattering.
In the comments to the note on Chris Bickerton's article, we have been debating the possibility of a European super-state. Marianne now puts the question to Hubert Védrine and Pierre Manent, and both agree with Chris and Louis and disagree with me: not even the crisis will overcome the absence of any political pressure or movement in favor of tighter integration.