Thursday, October 18, 2007

Effects of the Euro

The move to the euro has not boosted trade as much as expected: only 5 to 10 percent, according to recent economic research. But the common currency has been a greater stimulus to sales of euro-denominated financial assets, especially bonds.

Montebourg Mocks

Arnaud Montebourg had this to say about the Sarkozy divorce: "La France se moque comme d'une guigne des peines de coeur de ses dirigeants politiques." France doesn't give a fig about the heartaches of its political leaders, we might say in English. Except that in this case the fig is a cherry and might lend itself to some unfortunate double entendre, as explained here. Montebourg's reaction is not atypical of the Socialists, who seem to want to make three points: the important issue of the day is the strike, not the divorce; private life is none of our business, but Sarko has it coming to him for putting his private life in our faces; and le salaud deliberately timed the announcement of the divorce to coincide with the strike, on the theory of un malheur en cache un autre. You can almost here them saying, "Le malin! Putain, il est fort!"

And that's final!

Make that a divorce by mutual consent, rather than a separation. So much for the constitutional lawyers who argued, however implausibly, that a divorce would be unconstitutional. Neither candidate's relationship survived the election. Michelet, who personified France as a woman, never said that she was a jealous mistress who could brook no rival for the affections of her président(e).

I believe that Mme de Gaulle refused to invite divorced colleagues of the General to her dinner table. Imagine the protocol problems if such mores still prevailed today. M. Sarkozy, who denounced the spirit of '68, must nevertheless acknowledge that in at least one respect he is the beneficiary of the laxity he otherwise deplores.

Strike News

UNSA and SUD have voted to continue the strike on Friday for the RATP and RER. The rate of participation among transport workers appears to be higher than at the height of the 1995 strike.


The now quasi-official (late word: now official) Sarkozy separation raises a number of questions. Some constitutional experts insist that a sitting president cannot divorce or be divorced. Le Monde, which writes partly in the conditional and partly in the indicative, maintains that the divorce agreement was prepared "several months" ago, "during the presidential campaign." Since then, the president's wife has served as an emissary to Libya and vacationed with him in New Hampshire in a house ostensibly rented by friends of hers. We are also told that the first lady, now back in Paris, posed tout spécialement for Paris Match, and France2 news last night reported that information about Cécilia's appearance before a judge in Nanterre came from "a person close to her" and "almost en direct." In other words, in contrast to the official silence being maintained by the Élysée, Cécilia seems to be chafing at the bit to tell her story, or perhaps it would be more accurate to say, to shape the story that will be told about her. "La suite restera comme un cas de communication politique," writes Le Monde, but it seems that Cécilia has her own ideas about political communication and is thus far upstaging her husband with careful dispensations of information to selected relays.

So How Is It?

For those of you in the midst of the strike, how's it going? What's the atmosphere? What's the word in the street?