Thursday, December 1, 2011

New Blog on European Politics

My friend and colleague Trisha Craig has just launched a new blog on European politics. There only one post so far, on the Spanish elections, but check it out. There will be more to come, and you're sure to find it interesting.

I've Had Enough of DSK

Latest DSK: he says, in response to the Epstein and Taubmann pieces,
that he is "not bound by the writings, statements, or testimony given
by anyone, much of which is inaccurate." Furthermore, Taubmann says
that he and Epstein consulted frequently, that HE was the source of
the story that it was a friend of DSK's inside the UMP who revealed
that DSK's cell phone messages were being read at UMP HQ, and,
furthermore, that THIS STORY IS FALSE. He misinformed Epstein based on
his own surmise but later learned, he says, that the information about
phone surveillance actually came from J.-C. Lagarde, a policeman in
Lille--the VERY SAME POLICEMAN who has been indicted in the
prostitution case and who therefore has every interest in muddying the
waters.

I don't know about you, but I've had enough of DSK for a lifetime.

Bismarck? Really?

Arnaud Montebourg wants to raise the temperature between France and Germany. He's accusing Merkel of conducting a "Bismarckian policy," denying Germany's economic "virtues," and blaming German intransigence for the euro's difficulties. As always with Montebourg, the truth in his critiques is tainted by the rhetorical excess. But Montebourg's extravagance is only one of many signs of heightened nationalist tensions in Europe. The euro crisis has broken the taboo, which has largely held since World War II, against attributing policy differences to national character and ulterior designs rather than to identifiable interests. The problem in France is that Montebourg's tactics serve the Front National more than the PS, despite his ostensible commitment to Hollande's campaign. Mediapart features an interview with Emmanuel Todd, who, like Montebourg, is an economic nationalist and protectionist, who would like to push the PS toward Mélenchon's anti-Europe position.

Hollande may think he can blur the lines on such policy differences. He ran the PS by never forcing things to a head. But the presidency is different. He can't--or, rather, he shouldn't--tolerate such open dissent by a prominent spokesman from what I take to be his pro-Europe policy, which requires striking a workable compromise with Germany rather than blasting "the Hun" for having designs on European hegemony via the euro.

ADDENDUM: Hollande himself attacked Merkel yesterday:
«Je n'accepterai jamais qu'au nom du contrôle des budgets nationaux, au nom de la coordination des politiques budgétaires, la Cour de justice européenne puisse être juge des dépenses et recettes d'un Etat souverain», a-t-il déclaré, en référence à l'un des scénarios que Berlin tente d'imposer.