Rolf Englund IntCom internetional


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The effect of austerity has been to erode the tax base, leaving the budget deficit stuck at over 4pc of GDP.
France has gained remarkably little from fiscal tightening equal to 5pc of GDP over the last three years.
Undeterred, it is now pushing through extra cuts of €50bn by 2017 under the new premier Manuel Valls,
dubbed the “economic Clemenceau” for his willingness to endure casualties stoically
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, 3 July 2014

As the situation worsened in early 1918, Clemenceau continued to support the policy of total war – "We present ourselves before you
with the single thought of total war" – and the policy of "la guerre jusqu'au bout" (war until the end). Clemenceau

Total war


Japanese-style lost decade. But at least Japan maintained near full employment.
The eurozone faces a far worse prospect: a lost generation.
The political consequences of this scenario are the subject of an important book published in France by
François Heisbourg, chairman of the International Institute for Strategic Studies and the Geneva Centre for Security. In La Fin du Rêve Européen, he says the situation has become so intractable that the only way to save the EU is to abandon the euro.
Wolfgang Münchau, FT, November 3, 2013

I once proposed the opposite course of action – to recognise that the eurozone is now the true kernel of European integration – and to continue from there, changing the treaties with a view to turning the EU into an organisation fit to manage a complex monetary union.

Such a political union would need to include a framework for the resolution of existing debt, joint liability instruments for future debt,
a banking union firmly anchored at the central political level, and additional fiscal transfers as well.

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Federalism - "ever closer union" - The United States of Europe

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An astonishing new book by François Heisbourg
– La Fin du Rêve Européen (The end of the European dream) –
argues that the "euro cancer" must be cut out to save the rest of the EU Project before it is too late.
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, October 21st, 2013

"The dream has given way to nightmare. We must face the reality that the EU itself is now threatened by the euro. The current efforts to save it are endangering the Union yet further," he writes

A product of the Quai d'Orsay, he is an ardent European federalist and long-time champion of EMU, and currently chairman of the very blue-chip International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS).

Once the Quai d'Orsay set starts to break the taboo, we must be nearing a political inflection point.

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The official rationale may have been prudent monetary policy. But coming on the eve of the anniversary of the treaty that cemented postwar reconciliation between France and Germany,
last week’s announcement of the Bundesbank’srepatriation of its gold from the Banque de France was a poignant symbol of the fraying of the relationship between the two powers at the heart of the EU.
François Heisbourg, Financial Times, January 20, 2013

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I Malmö levererade Persson, våren 2011, som vanligt utan manus, precisa formuleringar som hade kunnat gå rakt till trycket.
Men framför allt sade han något som ytterst få ens knystade om vid denna tid.
När Persson kom in på Europas skuldkris svepte han förbi Grekland, Portugal, Irland, Spanien och Italien och underströk sedan att
problemen där är ingenting jämfört med vad som väntar ifall Frankrike börjar vackla.
Per T Ohlsson, Sydsvenskan 2 december 2012

Some French officials are blaming The Economist for Moody's decision to take away the French government's top AAA credit rating.
For them, it's all part of the Anglo-American conspiracy against French exceptionalism that has been going on since at least the 1960s.
It's no accident, Parisians might add, conspiratorially, that Fitch is the only one of the three major ratings agencies that has yet to strip France of its triple A; it's the only one that is not American-owned. (As it happens, it's French.)
Stephanie Flanders, BBC Economics editor, 20 november 2012

The way the French see it, Britain and America can't stand the fact that France has taken a different approach to the global market economy - one with more egalite and fraternite, and less worship of the free market gods. They let out their frustration by suggesting that France is the "ticking time bomb at the heart of Europe".

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France and the euro
The time-bomb at the heart of Europe
Why France could become the biggest danger to Europe’s single currency
The Economist print Nov 17th 2012

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- Den stora risken var att Grekland skulle utlösa en kris i italienska, franska och tyska banker.
Nu finns i praktiken en EU-garanti för de utestående grekiska statsobligationerna.
Anders Borg, TT, SvD papper 22 februari 2012

- To Be, Or Not To Be A Country - that is the question
Sir Oliver Wright, GCMG, DCVO, DSC, April 2001 .... more

Alliance pour la Souveraineté de la France

Casablanca, The Movie

France's European policy (Franska UD på engelska!)

President Chirac in english
The Guardian om Chiracs tal om EUs framtid (juni 2000)

UDF:s presidentkandidat Francois Bayrou på franska

François Bayrouin english at wikipedia

Philippe de Villiers is a French rebel with a cause. He breaks a general taboo among respectable politicians in France.
He says boldly that "the Europe of Brussels is an anti-democratic dictatorship".


Germany even gave up its fabled deutschmark, a totem of hard-earned postwar affluence,
to forge a monetary union and satisfy French and British fears over its post-reunification muscle.
Bloomberg 27 June 2018

Merkel Teaches Macron the Art of the Possible
This is a minimalist agenda but, unlike Macron’s, it’s detailed and actionable.
It’s also largely in line with the European Commission’s ideas.
Leonid Bershidsky Bloomberg 4 June 2018

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How hard it will be for France to replicate Germany’s transformation
The Economist 27 May 2017

Emmanuel Macron and the battle for the eurozone
Would such a federal agenda work? The answer is that, even if it were achievable,
it would be neither a sufficient nor a necessary solution.

Martin Wolf, FT 16 May 2017

The truth is that “the euro is incomplete and cannot last without major reforms”.
Thus did candidate Emmanuel Macron warn a German audience.

Jean Pisani-Ferry, an adviser to Mr Macron, justified the alarm in an article last year. “The euro’s survival currently hinges more on the fear of the dire consequences of a break-up than on the expectation that it will deliver stability and prosperity,” he argued. “This is not a stable equilibrium.”

Mr Macron has suggested deeper fiscal integration, with a eurozone budget, finance minister and parliamentary oversight, along with completion of the banking union.

Would such a federal agenda work? The answer is that, even if it were achievable, it would be neither a sufficient nor a necessary solution.

The eurozone also needs a big jump in relative German wages. Will that happen? I fear not.

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Euro Collapse

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Six charts show France’s biggest challenges,
from rising debt to unemployment near 10%.

Bloomberg 16 May 2017

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If a man as enthusiastic about the European project as Mr Macron is ignored /by Germany/,
Marine Le Pen and the death of the European project wait in the wings.
That would be a disaster for Germany.
Martin Wolf FT 9 May 2017

Post-unification Germany agreed to the single currency as the price of cementing its strategic relationship with France. It needs to accept reform of the eurozone, again in order to cement its relationship with France.

A eurozone that is seen to work well mainly for Germany will fail, maybe not tomorrow, but in time. Yet the eurozone cannot be run like the US: a full federation is politically unavailable.

So what must be done to improve its operation? That is to be my topic for next week.

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Mr Macron has proposed a common fiscal policy, a joint finance minister,
a eurozone debt instrument, and completion of the banking union.
Wolfgang Münchau, FT 30 April 2017

He owes his voters an answer to the question of what he would do if, as is likely,
Germany replies to his four proposals with: nein, nein, nein and nein.

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Det skulle också kräva en fördragsändring, godkänd av samtliga medlemmar av EU.
Det är svårt att tänka sig att detta skulle lyckas.
I sista hand skulle förslaget underkännas av den tyska författningsdomstolen, som anser att Tysklands öde skall styras av (det tyska) folket.

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Mr Macron is the opposite of a souverainiste:
he wants a fiscal and political union for the eurozone because he recognises that the only nation state that benefits from the current political arrangements in Europe is Germany, not France. In that sense, he is the polar opposite of Marine Le Pen, leader of the rightwing National Front.
Mr Macron wants to make the eurozone work; Ms Le Pen wants to destroy it.
Wolfgang Münchau, FT 1 January 2017

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Brexit may soon be matched or eclipsed by crystallizing events in France
where the Long Slump is at last taking its political toll.
A democracy can endure deflation policies for only so long.
Ambrose 25 August 2016

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Donald Trump, Marine Le Pen, Nigel Farage
The economic losers are in revolt against the elites
Martin Wolf January 26, 2016

Losers have votes, too. That is what democracy means — and rightly so. If they feel sufficiently cheated and humiliated, they will vote for Donald Trump, a candidate for the Republican party’s presidential nomination in the US, Marine Le Pen of the National Front in France or Nigel Farage of the UK Independence party.

The projects of the rightwing elite have long been low marginal tax rates, liberal immigration, globalisation, curbs on costly “entitlement programmes”, deregulated labour markets and maximisation of shareholder value.

The projects of the leftwing elite have been liberal immigration (again), multiculturalism, secularism, diversity, choice on abortion, and racial and gender equality.

Libertarians embrace the causes of the elites of both sides; that is why they are a tiny minority.

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Martin Wolf at IntCom

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The odds of France leaving the Eurozone, or Frexit, have just gone from a tail risk to plausible
thanks to the boost the Hedbo shootings have given to the leader of France’s far right party, the National Front, and its leader, Marine Le Pen.
Opinion polls indicate that that she would win the first round of a presidential ballot were elections held now.
NakedCapitalism Yves Smith January 9, 2015

Pamflett skriven av Joschka Fischer: Scheitert Europa? (Misslyckas Europa?).
Det europeiska samarbetet är på väg mot fiasko. EU-projektet har aldrig varit så hotat som i dag.
Finanskrisen aktualiserade de alltjämt olösta existentiella frågorna om EU:s mål och medel.
Det traditionellt tongivande samarbetet mellan Tyskland och Frankrike blockeras av att båda vägrar diskutera framtiden.
Rolf Gustavsson, SvD 23 november 2014

Joschka Fischer är helt klar över att Frankrikes djupa ekonomiska och sociala problem i hög grad är självförvållade,
men i dagens kritiska läge tjänar det ingenting till att fortsätta moralisera över det.

Tyska eftergifter för att hjälpa Frankrike ur krisen blir både kostsamma och inrikespolitiskt impopulära.
Men Frankrike intar en avgörande nyckelposition i klyftan mellan nord och syd i EU.
Om Frankrike bara fortsätter att glida in i den sydeuropeiska kretsen av krisländer så spricker EU.
Då spricker det som bildar EU:s kärna, eurogruppen med den gemensamma valutan.

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Joschka Fischer - Spricker

Manuel Valls, the French prime minister, declared
“We are a great nation" -France is a sovereign country.”
FT October 20, 2014

France bows to EU pressure on budget deficit
FT 27 October 2014

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ECB should abolish its OMT program – which, according to Germany’s Constitutional Court, does not comply with EU treaty law anyway.
Furthermore, the ECB should reintroduce the requirement that TARGET2 debts be repaid with gold, as occurred in the US before 1975

The fiscal compact – formally the Treaty on Stability, Coordination, and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls and his Italian counterpart, Matteo Renzi, have declared – or at least insinuated –
that they will not comply with the fiscal compact to which all of the eurozone’s member countries agreed in 2012
Their stance highlights a fundamental flaw in the structure of the European Monetary Union

– one that Europe’s leaders must recognize and address before it is too late.
Hans-Werner Sinn, Project Syndicate 22 October 2014

If you want an indication of the collective mood in France at the moment,
try this for a best-selling book title: Le Suicide français, by Éric Zemmour.
Its 530 pages are a relentless polemic against what Zemmour calls the destruction of the nation by a “vast subversive project” imposed via feminism, globalisation, immigration and the “monstrous Brussels bureaucracy”.
Hugh Carnegy, FT October 21, 2014

His book has been outselling the latest work by Patrick Modiano, proud French winner of this year’s Nobel literature prize.
There are estimates that Le Suicide français will sell north of 300,000 copies, more than three times the pre-prize average sales of Modiano’s books.

The popularity of the Zemmour book has sent a deeper shudder through a French establishment long used to decliniste books bemoaning the state of the nation and surveys showing the French are less optimistic about their future than Iraqis.

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Borders and budgets risks provoking political crises
that could plausibly culminate in the break-up of the euro, or even the EU.

Gideon Rachman, FT October 20, 2014

Speaking on television earlier this year, Manuel Valls, the French prime minister, declared that his government’s budget would not be written to “satisfy Brussels”, adding – “We are a great nation?.?.?.?France is a sovereign country.”

I winced when I heard that. It was one of those statements that actually sounds less convincing the more defiantly it is uttered.
For the fact is that France is not a sovereign country when it comes to budgetary matters – and nor are the other 17 countries that have adopted the European single currency.

In the next few days that truth could become brutally apparent.

France is not alone in struggling with the constraints on its national sovereignty imposed by Europe.
Britain too is wrestling with the fact that, under European law, it cannot prevent unlimited immigration from the rest of the EU.

Control of borders and budgets are two of the most traditional powers of the nation.

The extent to which France and Britain are chafing against European erosion of their sovereignty, on these issues, risks provoking political crises that could plausibly culminate in the break-up of the euro, or even the EU.

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German Constitutional Court

Secular stagnation
Eurozone policy makers face three choices.
First, they can transform the eurozone into a political union, and do whatever it takes:
a eurobond, a small fiscal union, transfer mechanisms and a banking union worthy of its name.
Second, they can accept secular stagnation.
The final choice is a break-up of the eurozone.
Wolfgang Münchau, FT October 19, 2014

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Yesterday, president François Hollande had to ask his prime minister, Manuel Valls, to form a new government
after senior ministers publicly criticised his economic strategy - Mr Hollande’s “absurd” austerity policies
Telegraph 25 August 2014

Arnaud Montebourg, the outspoken economy minister was protesting at Mr Hollande’s “absurd” austerity policies,
which he claimed were bringing about “the most destructive crisis in Europe since 1929”.
Just to ramp up the jingoistic rhetoric, Mr Montebourg reminded his countrymen that France was free and
“shouldn’t be aligning itself with the obsessions of the German right”.

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"some malfunctions occurred and mistakes were made"
U.S. poised to impose record fine /nearly $9 billion/ on BNP Paribas
French bank expected to plead guilty to sanctions breaches
MarketWatch 30 June 2014

The European election results showed euroscepticism rising across most of Europe.
But the really shocking factor for the euro elites should have been the strength of the vote for the Front National in France.
For the EU’s history – and its future – turns on France.
Roger Bootle, 1 June 2014

The EU was first imagined and constructed by two Frenchmen, Jean Monnet and Robert Schuman,
whose priorities were to end the age-old enmity between France and Germany and prevent another European war.
The essential idea was to tie Germany into some European political entity.

President Mitterrand exacted agreement to the euro as the price of France’s support for German reunification.
This only made sense if it was believed that the euro was in French interests and against Germany’s.
This is not quite how things have worked out

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In Strasbourg on Dec. 9, 1989, after the Berlin Wall fell,
Germany agreed to monetary union in order to get President Mitterand to agree to German reunification
WSJ 23 Sept 2011

The results in France are infinitely the more important
– and not just because Ms Le Pen’s smile does not disguise the FN’s fascist and anti-semitic roots.
France, by contrast, is an essential pillar.
Without France, the euro and the entire European project would collapse in on themselves.
Philip Stephens FT May 29, 2014

I Malmö levererade Persson, våren 2011, som vanligt utan manus, precisa formuleringar som hade kunnat gå rakt till trycket.
Men framför allt sade han något som ytterst få ens knystade om vid denna tid.
När Persson kom in på Europas skuldkris svepte han förbi Grekland, Portugal, Irland, Spanien och Italien och underströk sedan att
problemen där är ingenting jämfört med vad som väntar ifall Frankrike börjar vackla.
Per T Ohlsson, Sydsvenskan 2 december 2012

Polls: 23%, against 21% for the centre-right UMP, med socialisterna på tredje plats
The biggest fallout from the European elections will come from the success of Marine Le Pen’s National Front.
The Economist print, daterad 24 May 2014

She is capitalising on rising Euroscepticism, with promises to take France out of the euro and Schengen, explode the pro-European consensus and end diktats from Brussels.
Nicolas Sarkozy, the former president, has also called for powers to be returned from Brussels to national governments.

If Ms Le Pen comes first, however much that has been forecast, it will be a huge shock.

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The mystery is why a French Socialist president with a parliamentary majority should so passively submit to policies that are sapping the lifeblood of the French economy and destroying his presidency.
Francois Hollande won the presidency two years ago on a growth ticket, vowing to lead an EMU-wide reflation drive that would lift Europe out of slump.
He promised to veto the EU Fiscal Compact.
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, 21 May 2014

By a horrible twist of fate, Europe's political Left has become the enforcer of reactionary economic policies. The great socialist parties of the post-war era have been trapped by the corrosive dynamics of monetary union, apologists for mass unemployment and a 1930s deflationary regime that subtly favour the interests of elites.

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France is the new cauldron /kittel/ of Eurosceptic revolution
Britain is marginal to the great debate on Europe.
France is the linchpin, fast becoming a cauldron of Eurosceptic/Poujadist views on the Right,
anti-EMU reflationary Keynesian views on the Left, mixed with soul-searching over the wisdom of monetary union across the French establishment.
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, April 15th, 2014

1153 Comments Comment on this article

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Han Som Bestämde, evigt förknippad med 1990-talets sanering av statsfinanserna, väcker fortfarande känslor.
Men även kritikerna torde hålla med om att han behärskar två saker: Ekonomi – och att tala.

I Malmö levererade Persson, våren 2011, som vanligt utan manus, precisa formuleringar som hade kunnat gå rakt till trycket.
Men framför allt sade han något som ytterst få ens knystade om vid denna tid.
När Persson kom in på Europas skuldkris svepte han förbi Grekland, Portugal, Irland, Spanien och Italien och underströk sedan att
problemen där är ingenting jämfört med vad som väntar ifall Frankrike börjar vackla.
Per T Ohlsson, Sydsvenskan 2 december 2012

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France jobless rate at a record 3.32 millions
– about 11 per cent of the workforce.
FT, February 26, 2014

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German wages fell 0.2pc in 2013. Germany too is in wage deflation.
Which raises the question: how on earth are France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, and Greece supposed to claw back lost labour competitiveness against Germany
by means of "internal devaluations" if German wages are falling?

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, February 20th, 2014

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If you want to understand the financial crisis and the subsequent recession, Say’s Law is of no help whatsoever.
Mr Hollande’s embrace of this defunct economist has three important consequences. If France goes to the trouble of aligning with Germany on German terms, expect no mercy for others.
The message of righteousness will be broadcast in stereophonic quality.
Wolfgang Münchau, Financial Times, January 19, 2014

Do not romanticise his U-turn two years into his term and compare it with François Mitterrand’s similarly-timed adoption of the “franc fort” policy in 1983. The purpose of the Mitterrand’s decision was to allow France to coexist in a semi-fixed exchange rate regime with West Germany.
It was a political choice of macroeconomic adjustment, not one of supply-side voodoo and ideological convergence.

The third significance lies in the fact that the new consensus spans the entire mainstream political spectrum. If you live on the European continent and if you have a problem with Say’s Law, the only political parties that cater to you are the extreme left or the extreme right.

What it also tells us is that the policy debate within the eurozone is largely concluded. Those who favoured a new governance framework, which once included the French, have lost.

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France’s 'AA' Hollande pays price for kowtowing to EMU deflation madness
Let me be clear. The quarrel is not with the German nation, but with the 1930s policies being enforced on Europe by Angela Merkel and German political establishment.
(Have they all forgotten – or never learned – that it was the Bruning deflation of 1930-1932 that destroyed Weimar?)
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, November 8th, 2013

An astonishing new book by François Heisbourg – La Fin du Rêve Européen (The end of the European dream) –
argues that the "euro cancer" must be cut out to save the rest of the EU Project before it is too late.
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, October 21st, 2013

EU har ett demokratiskt underskott som inte självklart balanseras av en bankunion.
”Eliten” är ofta en tacksam måltavla.
Att stå upp mot populisterna är nödvändigt. Men Europavänner måste också anstränga sig för att visa att EU-projektet är till för medborgarna.
DN-ledare, Gunnar Jonsson, 17 oktober 2013

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We have a minor earthquake in France.
A party committed to withdrawal from the euro, the restoration of French franc, and the complete destruction of monetary union has just defeated the establishment in the Brignoles run-off election.
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, October 14th, 2013

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We will start with a remarkable example of both hubris and economic ignorance published earlier this year in Le Monde.
Under the headline "No: France Is Not Bankrupt," Bruno Moschetto, a professor of economics at the University of Paris I and HEC, made the following case.
No, France is not bankrupt .... The claim is untrue economically and financially. France is not and will not bankrupt because it would then be in a state of insolvency.
Professor, saying a country is not bankrupt because it would then be insolvent is kind of like saying your daughter cannot be pregnant because she would then have a baby.
John Mauldin, August 23, 2013

A state cannot be bankrupt, in its own currency, to foreigners and residents, since the latter would be invited to meet its debt by an immediate increase in taxation.

In abstract, the state is its citizens, and the citizens are the guarantors of obligations of the state. In the final analysis, "The state is us." To be in a state of suspension of payments, a state would have to be indebted in a foreign currency, unable to deal with foreign currency liabilities in that currency….

Ultimately our leaders have all the financial and political means, through the levying of taxes, to be facing our deadlines in euros. And besides, our lenders regularly renew their confidence, and rates have never been lower.

Four things leap to mind as I read this.

First, Professor, saying a country is not bankrupt because it would then be insolvent is kind of like saying your daughter cannot be pregnant because she would then have a baby.
Just because something is unthinkable doesn't mean it can't happen.

Second, contrary to your apparent understanding and the understanding of your partners in the Eurozone, especially Germany,
France does not have its own currency. The Greeks, Portuguese, Italians, and Spanish have all found out that they cannot print their own currencies, no matter how much they wish they could. You are all bound up in a misguided economic experiment called the euro.
For all intents and purposes you are in fact indebted in a foreign currency.
On your current path you will soon have to go to Germany and the rest of Europe asking for a special dispensation simply because you are France.

If this development weren't so potentially tragic, with horrific economic implications for the entire world, it would be especially amusing theater.

Fourth and finally, you clearly haven't done your homework on economic crises.
The fact that your interest rates are low and that your loans routinely get rolled over simply says that you have not yet come to your own Bang! moment.

Every country that falls into crisis is able to get financing at low rates right up until the moment it can't.

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Om man har en sedelpress går man inte i konkurs.
Det var varit det till synes självklara budskapet på denna blog ett antal gånger, första gången i november 2011.
Läs mer här

Elefanten i rummet är Frankrike – EU:s näst största ekonomi
Det tyska förbundsdagsvalet den 22 september lägger en död hand över europeisk krishantering under sommaren.
Thomas Gür, Kolumn SvD 20 juni 2013

Marine Le Pen
Brimming with confidence after her party secured 46pc of the vote in a by-election earthquake a week ago.
Her candidate trounced the ruling Socialists in their own bastion of Villeneuve-sur-Lot.
"The euro ceases to exist the moment that France leaves, and that is our incredible strength.
What are they going to do, send in tanks?"

Ambrose, June 30, 2013

For the first time, the Front National is running level with the two governing parties of post-War France, Socialists and Gaullistes.
All are near 21pc in national polls, though the Front alone has the wind in its sails.

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Nicole Bricq, France’s trade minister, said in a television interview that José Manuel Barroso had “done nothing during his term”.
Ms Bricq also suggested that Mr Barroso’s reappointment in 2009 had been a mistake, saying:
“I believe that the choice taken... four years ago was not necessarily good.”

Financial Times, June 28, 2013

Coming after efforts at a two-day EU summit in Brussels by both Mr Barroso and François Hollande, the French president, to play down any personal tensions between them, the comments caused a behind the scenes scramble to gauge whether Ms Bricq’s outburst was an intentional continuation of the anti-Barroso campaign or a misfire by an out-of-sync minister.

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- Centralbankerna kan inte ensamma dra Europa ur krisen,
finanspolitiken måste nu ta ett större ansvar.

Anders Borg, DN Debatt 29 maj 2013

Europe's leaders, rather belatedly, are recognising that youth unemployment threatens the entire European project.
At a conference in Paris on Tuesday, organised by the Berggruen Institute on Governance, fear and warnings flowed from every speech.
Gavin Hewitt, BBC Europe editor, 28 May 2013

Jacques Attali, a French economist and former adviser to the late president Francois Mitterrand, warned of a Europe in danger of "falling asleep", of young people being excluded from a changing world.

It was a theme echoed by the French President, Francois Hollande, who spoke of a Europe wracked by doubt, wondering whether Europe has any meaning at all. He spoke about hatred and anger, with citizens turning their backs on the European project. The very idea of Europe, he said, was being challenged.

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