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I was going to front page this, but let's discuss it here:


France's Hollande would seek to rework euro deal

PARIS, Dec 12 (Reuters) - French Socialist Francois Hollande said on Monday that he would seek to renegotiate the terms of the latest euro zone rescue plan if elected president next year.

(...)

"Without economic growth we will achieve none of the targets on deficit reduction," said Hollande, who said the accord was insufficient both as a short-term answer and a long-term solution to the continent's sovereign debt crisis.

He said he'd ask for ECB lender of last resort role, eurobonds and creation of an emergency bailout fund.

This is all in line with what we've argued here.

Reuters pours cold water on this:


The Socialists engaged in similar sabre-rattling back in 1997 when they vowed to renegotiate Europe's deficit-control rules, known as the stability pact, if they won power.

They did, but the renegotiation ultimately boiled down to a semantic one. The deal was re-labelled as the stability and growth pact, in a nod to the need for economic expansion alongside fiscal rectitude.

So, a false hope? But at least he's saying the right things today.

Wind power

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Dec 13th, 2011 at 04:49:04 AM EST
I was going to feature this yesterday, till I realized I had to run a search for it on Le Monde site, it was so hidden away. I haven't heard it mentioned on radio news. I don't see much TV news, but I doubt it got much play there.

We could say that was due to manufactured-consent media obedience, but I don't think so - journalists are quite ready to step out of the Sarko line these days (they have scores to settle).

My conclusion is that Hollande is mouthing the right words, but he's not putting any media presence behind them. Almost as if he's afraid of the bully reaction from the conservatives.

The French are in need of a narrative they can fit to this crisis. Because they have no other than the debt-sin story (and yes, it works on the French too), they are currently resigned to taking a flogging. If Hollande doesn't offer what's needed, he won't win the election.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Dec 13th, 2011 at 05:04:21 AM EST
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I've been cut off from things, but saw this as one of the first items on the TV news (on France 2) so it can't have been all that discreet.

But yes, it's been clearly underplayed in the paper/internet media. Why that is so is a good question - is it Hollande not pushing it, or the media choosing to ignore it?

The (rest of) Europe vs UK thing is of course getting plenty of play everywhere, even if it's just a sideshow - but it's been called a sideshow quite rapidly as well...

Wind power

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Dec 13th, 2011 at 06:09:19 AM EST
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Too many unknown unknowns there. Are the media clinging to the TINA story because it's simple and it works, why go against the grain? Is there in fact a split between the candidate and the party organisation, reducing capacity for drum-banging? Is Hollande keeping his head down while waiting for the chips to fall - which could be a tactic as long as he knows what he's going to say when Sarko later looks like a loser?

Thing is, Hollande is currently polling as second-round winner by 60%-40%, in other words as next French president. When he says: "I will renegotiate", that should be making headlines. But if it did, the UMP would be on him like a ton of bricks as the irresponsible man who broke the agreement Serious Sarko worked so hard to build and thus save Europe. Is that why he whispers?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Dec 13th, 2011 at 08:31:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In fact, Prime Minister Fillon upped and said exactly that as soon as Hollande had spoken.

Hollande renégociera l'accord de Bruxelles s'il est élu - Présidentielle 2012 Holland will renegotiate the Brussels agreement if elected - 2012 Presidential
François Fillon a jugé "tout à fait irresponsable" la proposition de François Hollande : "c'est la crédibilité de la France qui est en jeu, car on ne peut pas dire aux marchés : 'il y a un accord européen en décembre mais on ne sait pas si en avril ou en mai il sera toujours valable'".Francois Fillon considered Francois Hollande's proposal as "completely irresponsible" , "the credibility of France is at stake because you can not tell the markets: there is a European agreement in December but we don't know whether it will still be valid in April or May."

In the Nouvel Obs, Renaud Dély thinks that Hollande was courageous, in the circumstances, to come out in favour of renegotiation:

Hollande face au piège sarkozyste de "l'union nationale" - Présidentielle 2012 Hollande up against Sarkozy's "national unity" trap - 2012 Presidential
c'est bien un climat d'incontournable "union nationale" que le chef de l'Etat cherche à instiller. Ce faisant, il prend le risque de devenir le candidat "TINA" - "there is no alternative" -, porte-drapeau de la trop fameuse "seule politique possible". Le discours plaît souvent aux éditorialistes et séduit les élites, économiques ou intellectuelles. Il désespère en revanche les classes populaires qui désertent les urnes ou se réfugient dans le vote "anti-système" de type lepéniste faute de croire encore à une alternative possible....it is indeed a climate of inescapable "national unity" that the head of state seeks to instill. In doing so, he risks becoming the candidate of "TINA" - "there is no alternative" - ​​flagship of the notorious "only possible policy." This discourse often pleases the editorialists and seduces economic or intellectual elites. On the other hand it drives the lower classes to despair, who then desert the polling booths or take refuge in the "anti-system" vote, Le Pen style, since they can no longer find credible a possible alternative.

I guess all anyone can do is just shut up. Not only TINA, but it is treason to be in the opposition.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Dec 13th, 2011 at 09:30:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If your government is at war with the Welfare State, isn't taking the side of the Welfare State treason?

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Dec 13th, 2011 at 09:33:37 AM EST
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If Merkozy's genial plan fails to rescue the euro (and we all know it will), it's not their fault. It is the fault of Hollande's stab in the back.
by Katrin on Tue Dec 13th, 2011 at 11:09:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And Cameron, and the likely Irish referendum. And the fecklessness of the Greeks and their inability to grow their economy while slashing government spending by 10% of GDP.

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Dec 13th, 2011 at 11:17:32 AM EST
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Especially the Irish referendum, I guess. Can't have that anymore, this damn democracy. Why must they always give the wrong result in the first attempt?
by Katrin on Tue Dec 13th, 2011 at 11:27:09 AM EST
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So the Dolchstosslegende is fair game, too?

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Dec 13th, 2011 at 11:24:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Couldn't help it.
by Katrin on Tue Dec 13th, 2011 at 11:27:52 AM EST
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If even campaigning against Merkel's and Sarkozy's policies is declared disquieting for "the markets", Dolchstoßlegende is the correct metaphor.
by Katrin on Tue Dec 13th, 2011 at 11:38:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
is that "the markets" are tanking because Europe is throwing itself into a recession. The prospect of more expansionist economic policy in the future can therefore only be welcomed by said markets.

Fillon undoubtedly knows this, because he is not a complete idiot (unlike his president and many of his ministers)

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Dec 13th, 2011 at 12:40:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Double treason in this Dolchstoss from Hollande, since he and all the opposition have to be constantly ordered to stop being Germanophobic, which God forbid Sarkozy could ever be.

Except that during the 2007 campaign, the candidate Sarkozy came out with the following, on three occasions in major public speeches:

Quand le candidat Sarkozy était accusé de "germanophobie" en 2007 - LeMonde.fr

"La France n'a jamais cédé à la tentation totalitaire. Elle n'a jamais exterminé un peuple. Elle n'a pas inventé la solution finale, elle n'a pas commis de crime contre l'humanité, ni de génocide"

(9 March 2007, Caen; and 17 April, 2007, Metz)

"[La France] n'a pas commis de génocide. Elle n'a pas inventé la solution finale."

(30 March 2007, Nice)

France has never given in to the totalitarian temptation, has never exterminated a people, did not invent the final solution, has committed no crime against humanity or genocide...

No reference to Germany, of course.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Dec 13th, 2011 at 03:27:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Dec 13th, 2011 at 03:37:00 PM EST
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As predicted by Mig, France's AAA rating has become the subject of French Presidential Election Campaign Football, and of course, the "Golden Rule" is used by the UMP to tar the socialists as "irresponsible" (last summer, I wrote: "we haven't seen the last of the "Golden Rule"", but really, this was shooting fish in a barrel).
by Bernard on Tue Dec 13th, 2011 at 03:16:30 PM EST
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