Sunday, April 27, 2014

How Many Socialists Will Vote against the Valls Plan?

Anywhere from 20 to 100, it seems. Les Échos has the majority "on the verge of nervous breakdown":

Deux lectures de la déroute des municipales s’affrontent en fait depuis des semaines. Pour les opposants au plan Valls, cette claque électorale est d’abord due au non- respect des promesses de « changement » faites par François Hollande pendant la campagne présidentielle. Et doit donc s’en suivre un coup de barre à gauche et un refus de l’austérité et des contraintes « imposées » par Bruxelles. Pour le pouvoir et les ténors du PS, la Berezina du 30 mars s’explique avant tout par une absence de résultats sur le front économique et social. D’où la nécessité d’accélérer et non de remettre en cause la politique menée, en misant tout sur la baisse des charges et de la fiscalité pour relancer la machine. Deux visions peu conciliables.

An Airbus of Energy?

Just as Alstom was about to sell its energy-related operations to the American conglomerate GE, a counteroffer has come from the German conglomerate Siemens. The news is a great relief to economy minister Arnaud Montebourg because ... well, you know, no French minister likes to see a mismanaged French firm sold off the the Yanks, whereas selling it off to the Boches can be characterized as "a victory for Europe." To skeptics who might be tempted to say that what's at work here is a political as opposed to an economic logic--a political logic that may actually cost more French jobs than it saves, since there are labor redundancies with Siemens' operations that apparently don't exist with GE ... well, that would be a churlish objection to raise at a time when smiles are de rigueur in high Parisian policy circles.

So let's hope for the best in the best of all possible worlds. An Airbus of Energy and an Airbus of Transport! What a fine Franco-German synergy. The hastiness with which this new offer was thrown together suggests that there may be more than a few bumps in the road ahead, especially considering past difficulties in industrial arrangments with Siemens (regarding Areva, for example). But for now, the American wolf has been repelled from the door. Vive la France and cocorico!