Monday, December 12, 2011

Sarkozy the Divider?

Sarkozy's rude rebuff of David Cameron in Brussels (he refused to shake the British PM's hand), followed by his blunt assessment this morning that the UK has isolated itself from Europe (a sentiment already expressed by many in Britain hostile to Cameron's decision), does not coincide with the position of the German government:
Mit seiner deutlichen Distanzierung von Großbritannien stellt sich Sarkozy gegen den Kurs der Bundesregierung, die vor einer Isolation Großbritanniens warnt. So hatte Finanzminister Schäuble in der ARD-Sendung Bericht aus Berlin die Hoffnung geäußert, dass sich Großbritannien doch noch an der engeren Zusammenarbeit beteiligen wird. "Die Tür für Großbritannien bleibt offen", sagte er. "Ich hoffe, dass die Briten die offene Tür durchschreiten werden."
Sarkozy may be overplaying his hand here. Merkel wants and needs his continued support, but she is averse to grandstanding and to high-risk strategies. Germany wants to keep its differences with London low-key. Sarkozy prefers to cast himself, rhetorically at any rate, into the British lion's den. If he isn't slaying a dragon or facing down a lion every day, he can't go home to his princess in the evening. But he had better use caution.

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