Wednesday, February 3, 2010

EU Troubles

Le Monde's editorial today ostensibly laments Obama's snub of the upcoming EU summit, but its real lament is directed at the confusion that continues to reign within the EU. The Lisbon Treaty was supposed to have made things better but, for the time being, seems to have compounded the confusion by creating an executive without real power and then filling it with a non-entity:

La concurrence entre la présidence tournante de l'Union européenne (M. Zapatero) et la présidence stable du Conseil européen exercée par le Belge Hermann Van Rompuy est déjà patente. La Commission présidée par José Manuel Barroso n'en finit pas d'être investie par le Parlement européen. La haute représentante pour les affaires extérieures peine à trouver ses marques.

The inability to coordinate economic policy is another concern:

Quant à la grave crise budgétaire de la Grèce, elle témoigne à nouveau de l'absence cruelle d'un minimum de coordination des politiques des pays membres de la zone euro, sans même parler de "gouvernement économique"
 And Sarko in all this? He has been strangely silent on European issues of late. He was instrumental in obtaining ratification of the Lisbon Treaty but seems strangely uninterested in making the new structure work.

Citizenship and the Burqa

Eric Besson announced yesterday, with much fanfare, that he was refusing French citizenship to a man whose wife, already a citizen, wears the burqa. Eolas here separates fact from fiction regarding the legal basis for this decision.

Gardes à vue

Bernard Girard has two very interesting posts on a subject that has been much discussed in recent days: the increase in the number of gardes à vue and the treatment of detainees. The first deals with the way in which police union spokespersons are delegated to answer all charges in this domain, and the second, which dates from a year ago, describes a specific incident, with a very interesting comment from a police officer.

Berlusconi Picks a Fight with Mme. Sarkozy?

So says Marianne. And we know how protective the president of the Republic is when it comes to his First Lady. A cage match between Berlusconi and Sarkozy would be something to watch, no?

Poujadism, The Tea Party of 1950s France?

Robert Zaretsky's clever analogy. Sarah Palin = Pierre Poujade made over for TV. The "Kenyan" in the White House = the Jew at Matignon. Etc. etc. Let's hope that the Tea Party movement fizzles as quickly as Poujadism did--even if the latter did occasion the first book by Stanley Hoffmann.