Friday, October 24, 2008

France-Germany: Ça chauffe

Angela Merkel wants a meeting with Sarkozy. Her spokesman, Ulrich Wilhelm, has let it be known that in the German chancellor's view, any attempt by a French sovereign wealth fund (announced by Sarko yesterday) to prevent an acquisition by foreign capital must be compatible with internal EU regulations. Furthermore, if there is to be a new "economic government" of Europe, the "natural president" is Luxembourg's Juncker, not Sarkozy. Two shots across Sarko's bow.

Anyone who saw Juncker on France2 the other day in an interview with David Pujadas will recognize that Juncker is of the same opinion. He treated Pujadas' aggressive questioning about Luxembourg's fiscal paradise status and lax banking regulation as though Pujadas were a French skirmisher striking out in advance of an invading army. And he may well have been. What better way to exclude Juncker from the job of economic crisis czar than to link him to the failures at the heart of the crisis? (Past associations haven't slowed Henry Paulson down, though. Sarkozy should keep this in mind.)


Leo said...

Art, ça chauffe indeed.
However, I believe that Juncker's reaction on France 2 was not so much due to Sarko's heavy handed approach as to the abysmally mediocre "investigation" of Luxembourg's banking mores. Absolute lack of substance, outrageous caricatures (20% of the time spent on showing a briefcase being cleaned in a laudraumat). I felt ashamed to be a "shareholder" of this channel.

France 2 management rightfully apologized to Juncker:

"Je vous demande de ne pas considérer ce reportage comme une nouvelle manifestation de l’arrogance franco-française mais plutôt comme une insuffisance professionnelle” (...) “La frontière entre paradis fiscal, blanchiment d’argent et secret bancaire n’était pas vraiment établie. La mise en image était facile, voire de mauvais goût”

Bien dit!

Of course, journalist unions and the usual suspects are all up in arms.

Unknown said...

Yes, you're quite right. I should have mentioned the deplorable reporting. I thought the laundromat bit was despicable. But the question I kept asking myself was, Why are they doing this? And I thought, well, Juncker is in the way ...

Leo said...

Art, you are probably seeing too much in it. They are not trying to please the monarch. Just shoddy journalism. As usual.

Anonymous said...

Juncker as president of the Eurogroup would indeed be much easier to manipulate for Angela Merkel than Sarkozy.

And he would be as qualified as " natural president" as J.Skilling to preside over the SEC...

Leo said...

A very interesting take on this in the October 27 FT.

Anonymous said...

^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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