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Sarkozy in Brussels: a shock talk but no proposals

(B2) In Brussels, Nicolas Sarkozy roughly repeated his campaign speech. But if he did not want to avoid any subject, he remained vague, very vague, not to say inconsistent, on the means of achieving the objectives he sets for himself.

Thus he reiterated his concern for a Europe which protects “Europe must think of the people, not worry, prepare for globalization, and not be the Trojan Horse of globalization. Europe must be a political Europe. We must find a compromise so that Europe moves forward together at the same pace. We cannot build Europe on worry, Europe must protect”. But no details or timetable. Sarkozy repeated his belief in better economic governance. Citing the example of the dollar rate and Boeing, he had this surge “we had social, fiscal, environmental dumping and now here is monetary dumping”. But postponed an initiative until later, “now is not the time”.

On the WTO, he was more precise. “I am for freedom of trade, globalization does not scare me.” (But I want) “an agreement on the basis of reciprocity, fairness and goodbye naivety”. “Europe must open up, but so must the others, at the same time, under the same conditions. That we open up, yes, but you open the same. I have not received a mandate to sell out European agriculture and French agriculture. It's not services versus agriculture. I don't want us to be unable to do what our American friends are doing” NB: that is to say, being forced to reduce agricultural subsidies when the USA keeps them.

On the French budget, he was clear in his almost Keynesian desire to free himself from overly orthodox rules: “I know the monetary rules, France will be there to reduce the deficit and the debt. (But) I ask to be judged at the end of my five-year term on the debt and the deficit. This cannot be resolved week after week. The problem is that France is one growth point behind other countries. You have to think carefully about an economic and fiscal shock to go in search of this 1%. I have a dynamic vision of economic policy and not a sacrificial vision. »

On Turkey, it has always been clear “its place is not in the European Union”. As for blocking negotiations, “he doesn't see the point in asking the question now. Besides, it does not arise.” Didn't a spokesperson for the Élysée say that “the opening of negotiation chapters is a technical question” – in other words we can continue to open negotiation chapters – “this is the closing of a negotiating chapter which is political”. On this point, he is not taking any risks: the closing of the chapters is frozen

It prevents. Beyond the vagueness of certain remarks, the dynamism of the President of the Republic, his sharp, energetic side appealed. And it is true that he made a decision, that he breathed new life into a European construction which too often languishes at the mercy of consultations and empty words, of agreed-upon remarks and postponements until later. How can we not share his words like this when he says. “For a long time I have thought that the European debate has been contrite, without pretext of technicality, we say nothing to each other, we complicate everything and we simplify nothing, and this explains the disenchantment of our fellow citizens. »

Definitely not being seduced by Sarkozy's style is difficult.


Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).