Monday, February 11, 2008

L'Aarrgh de Triomphe

I watched Sarkozy's speech on the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty last night (you can view it here). It was as anticlimactic as its delivery was frenetic. Clearly Sarko felt he needed to impress the public with a major win, since the news has been largely negative for weeks now, but Europe is hardly the issue with which to attempt a reversal of opinion, because the subject is bitterly divisive. And although Sarkozy tried to play up the success of his own initiative--it was at France's behest that a "new treaty" was negotiated--and to play down the uncanny resemblance of the new treaty to the old one that was rejected in the 2005 referendum, the moment hardly lent itself to triumphalism. The ratification procedure was hardly calculated to unify the nation. It merely demonstrated the continuing disarray on the left and the suppression of misgivings on the right. So Sarko seemed rather more desperate than masterful--in my eyes, at any rate.

This is of course unfortunate. Sarkozy's unflinching commitment to Europe is heartening. He emphasized yet again last night that he intends to make the French presidency of the EU, which begins in June, a showcase for his European ideas. As I've indicated in past posts on this subject, I'm not sure that all of his ideas will sit well with his neighbors, but it will be a good test of his leadership, and at the end of the six-month rotation, he may well have something more to crow about. Last night's exercise was more an "aarrgh de triomphe" than an exultant cheer: to the victor belong the problems, and lately they seem to be getting the better of super-Sarko.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

About your pun : you read too much of "Le Canard Enchaîné". Or did you watch "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" lately ?

About Sarkozy's attitude : sure, the ratification procedure was not really something to brag about. It was more some kind of "let's do the dirty job, then move on".

The new treaty is even more dissatisfying than the previous one, it should have consisted only in the adoption of a simple, short set of rules defining the decision-making and directive-making processes in the EU. No way should it have included the previous treaties, covering everything from fisheries to agriculture and IP rights, making it a huge pile of useless paper in the process (see the later comments on paper thrift). "Simplified" my foot.