If you follow the Washington scene you know that President Bush met last weekend with Nicolas Sarkozy for a discussion on the financial crisis. Since neither leader showed any sign of acknowledging the major cause of the crisis - the pressures put on lending organizations to grant bad mortgages to "poor" people, i.e., minorities, immigrants, single mothers, etc... most of what they said was sheer rhetoric. However, Sarkozy is being called to account for his words by two conservative opposition leaders: Bruno Gollnisch of the Front National and Philippe de Villiers (photo) of the MPF (Movement for France). Le Salon Beige summarizes the debate and provides links to longer articles:While Nicolas Sarkozy advocated an even more supranational Europe through the creation of an "economic European government", Bruno Gollnisch delivered an address to the European Parliament in which he forced the current president of the European Union (Sarkozy) to come face to face with his contradictions:"Your very actions, Mr. President, show how incapable the Union is of resolving the crisis that it could not or would not foresee. You met with four (not 27!) nations on October 4, you participated in a bilateral meeting with Germany on the 11th, with only the members of the Eurogroup (euro zone) the 12th, with the President of the United States on the 18th to persuade him to organize still another meeting, theoretically to restructure the System, to which only six of the 27 States of the EU would be invited, along with the U.S., Japan, Russia, India and China!" (...)But Bruno Gollnisch also proposed an alternative to this nation-destroying Europe:"Mr. President, the path to follow is different: it excludes neither European consultation ("concertation") nor industrial and cultural cooperation. But it implies a radical rupture with the global system, the complete reevaluation of the so-called benefits of the universal mixing of peoples, goods and capital, the unequivocal defense of our independence and our identities. This does not mean isolation: on the contrary it is the necessary condition for the return to the world of our nations' influence.
Philippe de Villiers, also addressing the European Parliament, made many of the same points:In one minute, Mr. President, I would like to say that you have been forced, during this financial crisis, to violate the dogmas of the institutions of Brussels, Frankfurt, competition, Maastricht standards, world-wide policies of free exchange, the ban on State aid to businesses, especially banks, etc...You brought up a moment ago the affair of sovereign funds which is extremely important to save our businesses in the future, when their value diminishes to a dishonorable level, since this is already the case. Today, Mr. President, the Treaty of Lisbon that European leaders and you yourself in particular are trying to keep alive artificially, this Treaty should have prevented you from doing what you have just done. It forbids all restrictions on movements of capital, it forbids all interventions and all political influence on the Central European Bank and especially and above all State aid to businesses.The question is simple. What path, Mr. President, are you going to choose: to have your hands bound, or free? In order to have your hands free, we do not need the Treaty of Lisbon, but a Treaty that takes into account the lessons that we have just learned together.This was Nicolas Sarkozy's ironic and self-serving response to Philippe de Villiers:(...) Perhaps it is necessary to free ourselves from dogmas that have done great harm to the idea of Europe, dogmas that are often even more illegitimate when they are not the product of decisions of democratic, hence legitimate, organisms. And in Europe, the European ideal, to which I adhere, is strong enough for European democracy to be a true democracy. Official thought, dogmas, habits, conservative attitudes have done a great deal of harm. (...)Note: A strange comment from him. The Treaty of Lisbon, by the definition he gives above, is therefore illegitimate! It was rejected by France and Ireland, among other countries. Then he goes on to denounce "official thought", one of his specialties, and finally he blames "conservative", i.e., inflexible, attitudes, even though he calls himself a "conservative". Very confusing.He goes on to a sarcastic remark about Villiers:Monsieur de Villiers, yes, I violated the dogmas because I believe in pragmatism (...) I am in a good position to know that the Treaty of Lisbon is not a marvel or a perfect document. Anyway, Monsieur de Villiers, except for Vendée, perfection is not of this world. (...)Note: If it's not a marvel why did he hasten to push it through the French Parliament in the face of his fellow Frenchmen who had rejected it? Indeed he is in a position to know it is not perfect, now that it has proven itself to be "perfectly" useless! And why the sarcasm about Vendée? Vendée has enjoyed more prosperity that many other regions of France, thanks in part to Villiers' governance. He goes on:As for having a free hand, dear Philippe de Villiers, my answer applies to you! It is the response of a man who is free, even in French political discussions. I think that the most important thing for us is to stop beating around the bush. I think that good compromises are made by sincere people who follow through on their ideas and that the defect in European political discourse is the passiveness that has struck all of us, all political stripes, as if they are paralyzed at the idea of doing something different.Note: Is Sarkozy trying to project onto Villiers his own mistakes?
He refuses to accept any personal responsibility. Instead he accuses EVERYBODY, including Villiers, of doing what he does. They're all guilty - a good way to escape blame, but does anyone take him seriously?Finally:If Europe has advanced, it is because at a given moment, women and men have opened up new territories. And the self-criticism that you are asking of me ought to be done by everyone. For a longtime, in Europe, we have behaved as if we were immobile. We followed the founders, but we did not do as they did, we did not open up new routes, or generate new ideas. I believe deeply that at the point where we are now, it is going to take some imagination, and that at bottom, the worst risk today is that of not taking any risk, and of not being audacious as we confront a totally new situation.Note: What Sarkozy means by "audacious" is that he must continue to preside over the European Union even after his term expires on January 1. See the next post.
Labels: Bruno Gollnisch, Economics, EU, European Constitution, European Parliament, Philippe de Villiers