Opinion – Germany ready to dilute austerity medicine for reform-minded France | Reuters – John Gelmini

Français : Francois Hollande - Mardis de l'ESSEC

Français : Francois Hollande – Mardis de l’ESSEC (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dr Alf is right.
The EU budget rules are a fig-leaf, which is applied unevenly and in the case of France very lightly.

France, and the French people, have a history of wanting to “preserve the French way of life” and this includes not embracing change and imagining that the World owes it a living.

Those in charge of the EU see it as a job creation and enrichment device at the expense of taxpayers but to this day they are, apart from Germany, not in the mindset to create exports and expand Europe out of trouble.
Always the solutions involve making speeches, coming up with plans but never delivering on any of them.

This is astonishing given the fact that Europe is still about 4.5 trillion Euros short of where it needs to be.

Hollande, a man apparently concerned more with his complicated love life than anything else ,is typical of this sort of thinking.

Instead of relentlessly focusing on bringing France face to face with economic reality, he motorcycles to assignations, like a balding overweight teenager who has seen better days, and then when questioned about what he has been doing, he becomes coy and cites privacy.

My policy within corporate life and with builders and other suppliers whom I periodically have to engage with, was to not be too concerned about people’s private lives unless it affected their performance. When it did they were instructed to get their act together in short order and reorder their priorities.If they did not respond by upping their game as a matter of urgency then they were dispatched and dismissed as soon as the law or practicality permitted. No-one is irreplaceable and that reality soon became clear to everyone involved.It was not quite” Husky management”,whereby the slowest dog in the sled team is shot and fed to the remaining Huskies but a more genteel affair involving outplacement assistance , coaching and psychological support for those in corporate shell shock or suffering from an inability to face reality.

Mr Hollande,who is well paid and certainly well fed is neither performing nor delivering so he and those around him need to be replaced by people who can deliver.

John Gelmini

The Fall of France – Paul Krugman – NYTimes.com

Paul Krugman, Laureate of the Sveriges Riksban...

Paul Krugman, Laureate of the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 2008 at a press conference at the Swedish Academy of Science in Stockholm (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is a MUST-READ article from Nobel Prize winning, liberal economist, Paul Krugman, in the NYT. Check it out!

via The Fall of France – NYTimes.com.

Personally, I prefer Krugman when he focuses on economics, rather than venturing opinion on politics – his politics are colored by his liberal views. But his article on France’s economic performance yesterday was excellent.

However, I must say that I agree that President Hollande has been a failure. Hollande has completely failed to live up to his anti-austerity rhetoric.

In my mind, we are witnessing German hegemony over Europe, via fiscal constraints. A similar point has been made by leading Oxford economist, Simon Wren-Lewis, using different language.

As I looked at the news this morning, every major newspaper and economic commentator seems to be again focusing on the Euro, vying for headline space. I am sure that speculators are sitting in the wings, looking to short-sell weak prey. Meanwhile, yesterday we learned that perhaps Germany might dilute austerity medicine in exchange for reform.

One last point, the new French Finance Minister is a thirty-seven year old former investment banker, so I fear he will understand the markets but alas perhaps not the people?