Thursday, April 29, 2010
Gérard Collomb, Socialist baron and mayor of Lyon, sees himself as part of a "social-reformist" bloc within the PS, in which he is joined by Manuel Valls and François Rebsamen. The opposition is what he describes as an "infernal alliance" between Martine Aubry on the one hand and Laurent Fabius and Henri Emmanuelli on the other.
Lending money to Greece to stem the present crisis and save the euro is a matter of intense controversy in Germany. Nothing of the kind in France. The Socialists approved the necessary budget measure with nary a murmur. Why such calm? Well, for one thing, there is no impending election in France, as there is in Germany. But I suspect that the real reason is that French populists and sovereignists of the Right and Left are keeping their powder dry. The debt crisis will get worse before it gets better, and the costs to French taxpayers will be a juicy issue for the 2012 elections. In the meantime, the Socialists are probably better informed than the populists about the magnitude of French bank exposure to Greek, Portuguese, and Spanish debt. Default would hit French banks, and a direct hit on voters' bank accounts would be an even more serious political bombshell than the costs of a bailout.
Laura Bush tells all: the American delegation to the G8 was poisoned, she thinks, and George W. was so sick that he didn't rise from his bread to greet Sarkozy. Interesting that no word of that encounter leaked from the French side.