(One thing that bothers me are all these “summits”. By now there are fewer summits in the Himalayas, since every conference is referred to as a “summit”. But I digress)
Not that things are all that great at home in France. The Americans are taking over: the Tour de Lance, for instance, and now Danone’s about to be purchased by Pepsi. While Jacques can’t do anything about Lance, he’s “vigilant” and “mobilised” about the possibility of a foreign takeover of Danone, and has been saying that “France’s key priority was to defend the strength of its firms.” How about lower taxes and less stringent labor laws, Jacques?
Parts of France are under a drought, and water restrictions are in order. There’s another type of drought in the horizon, as France looks at cut in housing perks for new `nobility’, i.e., the functionnaires “– museum directors, bank managers, regional councilors and public architects — who are paid salaries that the country’s 10 percent unemployed can only dream of but pay nothing or peppercorn rents for their housing.”
However, the real bad news, as Captain’s Quarters points out, is that
The French continue to isolate themselves in the war on terror. First they allegedly concocted the forged documents that came to the CIA and caused a row over the State of the Union speech. Now they have gone out of their way to lie about sensitive information in the middle of the London bombing case simply to score a couple of political points, enraging the British and threatening to end cooperation between the two countries on intelligence
If and when Sakozy gets elected, things are unlikely to change much in that respect. The NYT article reports,
After an emergency European Union summit meeting of justice and interior ministers in Brussels last Wednesday, the French interior minister, Nicolas Sarkozy (Mr. Chaboud’s boss), suggested that part of the cell responsible for the London terror attacks had been arrested before, apparently referring to a large police and intelligence operation, code-named Operation Crevice, against an ethnic Pakistani cell.
“It seems that part of this team had been subject to partial arrest” in the spring of 2004, Mr. Sarkozy told reporters. In a veiled criticism of the British, Mr. Sarkozy described that development as making “the work of the police services across Europe extremely difficult.”
The remarks prompted an immediate response from the British home secretary, Charles Clarke, who had called for the meeting. “There is absolutely no foundation in them,” Mr. Clarke, speaking at a news conference, said of Mr. Sarkozy’s remarks to the press. He added, “I’m sorry to be so blunt, but that is the state of affairs.”
Asked whether he had confronted Mr. Sarkozy directly about his statements, Mr. Clarke said there had not been the opportunity since Mr. Sarkozy left the meeting “halfway through.”
In all, the more things change . . .
Here in the USA, France 2’s special correspondents stumble onto a snag. The snag’s named Charles Johnson