Friday, October 3, 2008

German Suspicions, French Pessimism

A German commentator takes a dark view of the intentions behind Sarkozy's convocation of a European crisis summit tomorrow. Michaela Wiegel thinks that France is using the crisis to get rid of deficit spending limits (the Stability and Growth Pact) and to introduce the subsidiarity principle into economic policymaking: general goals would be set at the EU level, but it would be left to national governments to interpret and implement those goals locally.

Meanwhile, the FT adds to the gloom:

France is increasingly gloomy about Europe’s durability. François Fillon, the prime minister, said the “world is on the edge of the abyss”.

Sarkozy Bank Rescue Plan Makes Headway

Nicolas Sarkozy has taken an energetic role in confronting the developing European banking crisis. Sarko is worried about the danger of a fracturing of Europe if countries respond in an uncoordinated manner, as first Ireland and now Greece have done by announcing unilateral deposit insurance plans. These announcements have caused some flows of funds out of other countries' banks, putting them under pressure.

The details of Sarko's plan have also become clearer. Apparently he did not propose a 300 billion-euro rescue fund to be managed by the EU. Rather, he asked that each member country pledge that it can muster 3 pct of its GDP in case of need. This would amount to a total of approximately 300 billion in reserve, but without central management--a different kettle of fish.

Be that as it may, Sarko has persuaded the initially hostile Angela Merkel and Gordon Brown to meet with him, Barroso, Berlusconi, Juncker, and Trichet in Paris on Saturday.

Dati Deboutée

The defense attorney who was accused of slandering Rachida Dati with a (plausibly true) statement he made in court in defense of his client has been acquitted. The court

... a invoqué l'article 41 de la loi de 1881, qui affirme le principe de la liberté de parole des avocats, lors de leurs plaidoiries.

The court also confirmed that the complaint against the attorney was filed by the minister of justice herself:

Rachida Dati était à l'origine de la procédure pénale contre l'avocat, mais ne s'était pas constituée partie civile.

Maître Eolas sums up:

Une victoire pour la liberté d'expression et la liberté de parole de la défense. Espérons que le parquet de la Réunion ne va pas ajouter la honte au ridicule et faire appel.