Saturday, April 27, 2013

The UMP Finds Its Angle of Attack

Alain Juppé is leading the pushback. François Hollande has "broken faith" with Germany, raising a "mortal peril" for France (really?). Bartolone and Cambadélis have called for "confrontation" with France's primary European partner, and either Hollande is complicit in this or else he is a weak president who cannot command his troops and is facing an internal rebellion within his own party. François Fillon is taking a similar line, but he expressed himself in more measured terms, in part because he was in Germany yesterday.

Somewhat more surprisingly, Le Monde more or less echoed Juppé in its lead editorial:
Soit ce langage belliciste est autorisé en haut lieu, et c'est inquiétant. Soit il ne l'est pas, et c'est tout aussi inquiétant, puisque cela impliquerait que le président ne tient pas ses troupes. La réalité, c'est que le PS est en train d'imploser sur la question de la politique économique du gouvernement.
The paper also found a prominent Socialist willing to defend its defense of Germany policy (which it mutes by calling the Socialist attacks on German policy and on Germany's leader attacks on "Europe" by untamed "populists"):
Elisabeth Guigou, présidente – socialiste – de la commission des affaires étrangères de l'Assemblée nationale, ne s'y est pas trompée. Les propos de M. Bartolone, a-t-elle dit, sont "nocifs", voire "dangereux". On aimerait entendre des prises de position aussi fermes de la part du président de la République : le débat d'idées avec l'Allemagne, oui. L'affrontement, non.
Meanwhile, we have a German Social Democrat, Martin Schulz, head of the European Parliament, taking the side of the French dissidents--the first German to do so, to my knowledge:
Les gouvernements des pays de l'UE vont "beaucoup trop loin" dans la politique d'austérité, juge le président du Parlement européen, le social-démocrate allemand Martin Schulz, dans un entretien avec le quotidien belge L'Echo samedi 27 avril.
So, at last, an actual debate about European economic policy is under way. There is little hope that it will lead to a significant change of policy. There are German elections in the fall, and Germany is not about to change course now.  But we might hope for some discreet loosening now and a broader rethinking of policy after the elections--if unrest does not break out in one of the countries squeezed by austerity before then.

2 comments:

PF said...

Schulz remains fascinating, and the German left-of-center remains a parochial, quiescent abomination.

PF said...

Schulz, Lunch with the FT:
http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/2/c76118f6-acd7-11e2-9454-00144feabdc0.html