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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Sarkozy veut nous imposer le modèle anglo-saxon

by Peter Avis

Sarkozy seeks to impose Anglo-Saxon model on France

Translated Friday 4 April 2008, by Susannah Readett-Bayley

In favour of bringing France closer to USA economic policy, the French president, currently visiting London, made clear his esteem for policy during the Thatcher years.


Special report

What remains from Nicolas Sarkozy’s visit to London, after the pomp and ceremonial protocol? Behind the words – cordial understanding has become ‘friendly understanding’ and for Gordon Brown goes as far as ‘tremendous understanding’ - the strengthened relationship between London and Paris appears to have surpassed that of Paris Berlin. It seems, with the new “Europe of the 27” the latter has become less important.

Repeated praise for ‘Old England’

Last Thursday, the French president laid a wreath in front of General de Gaulle’s statue. It could also have been in homage to the last remaining Gaullists at a time when Sarkozy prepares to integrate France entirely into the structures of an Atlantic alliance. The same message was passed during Gordon Brown’s press conference shared with his friend “Nicolas”. All agreements signed, as well as the communal vision for a ‘Global Europe’ refer to seeking and strengthening a privileged relationship with the USA. The British prime minister moreover stressed the central importance of NATO for all defence strategies: Sarkozy’s announcement to send a thousand French soldiers to Afghanistan is a direct response to a request from Washington and London. Brown might well say “both of us enjoy a strong relationship with our American partners”.

Nicolas Sarkozy gave repeated praise to old England. In his last speech on Thursday night to the City fat cats, he described a Great Britain with a flourishing economy thanks to a model that “values work”, a model that should be imported to France. “I admire the way they ensured the transition between the Thatcher years and the Blair years (…) and made the necessary reforms to ensure growth, full employment and prosperity.” Noting that “of course there are problems” (without going into detail). He called to all French living across the channel to support his reforms, which had proved successful in the UK, and to spread the word to their families in France.

A flexibility disputed in Great Britain

However, he omitted any mention of Britain’s economy, directly impacted by the shockwaves from the American economy, which today is so heavily indebted and on the edge of financial crisis. The British model he refers to is that of a ‘flexibility’ of the labour market, heavily disputed today by employees and the union movement. Again, there is no mention that the low unemployment rate in Great Britain goes alongside a rapidly increasing number of unstable and small part-time jobs.

President Sarkozy denounced those in the financial world who abuse and cheat and attacked “frivolous capitalism, lies and an absence of transparency”. Of course, we are supposed to believe that his own capitalist friends, the Bollorés or others don’t come into that category.

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