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by Lionel Venturini

Selective Austerity

Translated Tuesday 23 August 2011, by Gene Zbikowski and reviewed by Gene Zbikowski

The Socialist Party hails a “government of the euro,” the Left Front attacks a policy of privatizations.

One good point and one regret: “The economic government (of the euro zone) is a good thing. We are backers of it,” explained former minister of the economy Laurent Fabius with regard to one of the announcements made after the Merkel-Sarkozy meeting.

A regret, shared by Arnaud Montebourg and others: the rejection of eurobonds, a form of mutualization of sovereign debt. The rejection does not permit governments to free themselves from the financial markets.

“I still have not heard anything about regulating the financial system. I still have not heard anything about growth and employment. So, this is very disappointing,” was the criticism made by Martine Aubry, while François Hollande felt that Nicolas Sarkozy had made “a small step towards economic governance of the euro zone,” tempered by “a big step backwards” in abandoning eurobonds.

“In France, the brainwashing has already begun,” said Pierre Laurent, national secretary of the French Communist Party and president of the European Party of the Left. “They have to prepare public opinion for austerity (and simultaneously) kill the economy with policies that negate any prospect of growth.” For the French Communist Party, there are two priorities to get out of the dead-end: “Disarm the speculators and invest in jobs and public services.” And a means: “The European central bank can make interest-free loans to governments in difficulty and refinance the banks on the basis of social and environmental criteria, so that the money does not get used for speculation.”

For Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the Left Front candidate for the 2012 presidential elections, “instead of concrete measures to protect the peoples from the attacks of the markets, Nicolas Sarkozy and Angela Merkel persist in submitting to the demands of finance. For them, the peoples are the only guilty party. The so-called ‘golden rule’ imposed on all European governments will be soles of lead for our economies.” What is being called an austerity policy is, he said, in reality, “a policy of privations.”

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