In yesterday’s podcast, one thing Siggy and I discussed was how Blair made the British people proud of being British again. Then in last night’s France2 news they showed Nicolas Sarkozy giving a speech saying he wants the French to be proud of being French again.
I find that a very refreshing idea but I’m not optimistic for its prospects. Instead of a collective show of EU hands, it’s time for individuals to take pride for their own heritage and what their nations have and can contribute. On the other hand, Sarko’s proposing a mini-treaty to replace the failed EU constitution, which would mean that people wouldn’t be able to reject it through referendums as they did the first time.
So much for the individuals.
Sarko’s EU strategy has two other points:
- calls for Europe to “protect” its citizens from globalisation
- his call for an explicit statement that Turkey will never become a full member of the EU.
Sarko will take office on May 16. There’s more in the works:
- Today he’s meeting with Tony Blair in Paris. They will discuss the EU. There’s another meeting scheduled on a different date with Angela Merkel. The emergence of leaders like Merkel and Sarcozy signals to perhaps not a new Europe, but perhaps a Europe less hostile to America. (No, anti-Americanism didn’t start with GWB. It’s been around for decades.)
- Chirac and Sarko met with Saad Hariri, the son of slain former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, signalling continued support of the Lebanese over Syria. Will the Sarko years reflect Chirac’s customary duplicity? We’ll have to wait and see.
- Sarko’s been criticized for taking a 2-day luxury cruise on a billionaire‘s yatch. Not only is he unapologetic – since the trip was not at taxpayers’ expense – he asserts his position that he wants rich people to remain in France and to invest in France.
(and according to Erik, apparently he was wearing a NYPD t-shirt while jogging)
Next month’s Parliamentary elections are crucial.
Meanwhile, out on the streets, the link above states that there have been over 1,200 cars torched in France since last Sunday’s election: 730 on Sunday, 296 on Tuesday, 200 on Wednesday. I don’t know how many were torched on Monday night, but we’ll know Sarko has changed things when whatever few French automotive insurance companies are left in the country lower their rates.
In other French news, Erik Svane made it to the front page. He looks marvelous.
Update: The French Left Pitches A Fit
For an excellent essay on how Tony Blair’s attitude towards the EU went sour, read Richard North‘s article at Pajamas Media