Friday, June 27, 2014

Renzi Steals Hollande's Thunder

Look, folks, I'm no dupe. Not much happened at the EU summit, and austerity has not been abandoned, as some feverish headline-writers are suggesting. But you have to hand it to Matteo Renzi: he has played the moment superbly and reaped the credit for acknowledging the obvious.

But Renzi and German Chancellor Angela Merkel reached a deal late on Thursday which stresses the need for a flexible interpretation of fiscal rules, while stopping short of any change to the EU pact.
Merkel stressed at a news conference that it would be up to the European Commission, not member states themselves, to decide whether extra time was granted.
"The best use of flexibility means the best use, not the fullest use but the best, the most appropriate for the situation," Merkel said.

This reward could have been Hollande's. But Renzi is a politician; Hollande is an apparatchik promoted above his pay grade. You also have to give Merkel some credit for knowing how to modulate her rhetoric without ceding much of actual substance.

Sarkozy's Return

The Danes, like everyone else, seem to have forgotten that François Hollande exists. To judge by this cartoon, they think Sarkozy has already completed his comeback. Or else Denmark is caught in a time warp. (h/t TexExile)