Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Great Sovereign Nation and the Little Boy

Pierre Lellouche, minister for European Affairs, says that France is a "great sovereign country" and that he, for one, won't stand for its being treated like "a little boy" by the European Commission. This, as Christophe Bouillaud notes in an astute commentary, is a rather remarkable statement for a minister charged with overseeing the relationship, defined by solemn treaties, between France and the European Union. These treaties impose limits on French sovereignty to which France has agreed. Either those limits are respected, or the European Union, once a centerpiece of Sarkozy's administration, becomes meaningless.

Viviane Reding, speaking for the European Commission on the Roma affair, may have been imprudent in her remarks about French policy, but she did capture everyone's attention and succeeded in making it clear that France cannot act just as it pleases in this matter, which concerns its treaty partners as well as itself. When tempers have cooled, perhaps everyone involved can take this pertinent fact on board and act accordingly. The Roma are indeed a European problem, and the problem cannot be solved by exporting Roma from wherever they happen to land.

Indeed, the situation is analogous to the economic problem, which Germany thinks can be solved if only everyone would export more. Someone has to be a net importer, in demographics as well as economics.


Anonymous said...

I believe that Redding was reacting to the blatant lie; I suppose most European Commissioners are not used to being lied to by ministers. Essentially, when France said they were not targeting any specific group, the E.C said "Okay we believe you". Then the memo proving the opposite surfaced and made clear that not only a specific ethnic group WAS being targeted, but that France had deliberately lied to the commission's face and thus nothing they say can be taken at face value. Apparently even the US is displeased enough that President Sarkozy shortened his trip. But domestically he's gaining strength on the right - when Copé said French representatives who voted with the other countried were traitors, he was using chauvinism + the dislike for the E.C to his party"s advantage.

(As for France's reaction - "she can take them back in her Luxemburg, if she likes them so", wow, classy and so worthy of high-level political debate. It's a smash hit with Le Figaro's readers though. )


Anonymous said...

Since when is LA France a "boy"????

Isn't it a Freudian slip, whereby it's not so much La France being treated like a boy, but.. France's president?
And we know what happened to the last person who dared say "petit garçon" to him...
(Hint: his initials are PPDA)

Little boy, but clever boy: listen to the older lady in the video...!t=35s

Anonymous said...

A picture is worth a thousand words, brought to you by Le (still mad about wiretapped journalist) Monde


FrédéricLN said...

"Germany thinks can be solved if only everyone would export more. Someone has to be a net importer, in demographics as well as economics."

Well, from an accountant point of view, that would be quite true.

But we can also consider the exports by a nation, as a sign of the value and relevance of its national production (the world's judgment on it). Under this perspective, everybody might and should export more.

And, as a matter of fact, the French trade balance is worsening more and more since years.

Here is the connection: our Administration shows no interest to France being valued in the world and its products being chosen by free markets. This Administration prefers to use "l'étranger" as a "gendarme derrière Guignol", a scapegoat for all bad occuring in our country. And focusing on the Roms is, in this perspective, neither an exception nor an accident.