"The French are Europeans when it suits them," writes Christian D. de Fouloy at TechCentralStation. Despite their willingness to chastise other Europeans on multilateral etiquette, "the French are guilty of the most flagrant foot-dragging of any EU state when implementing new rules," and have ignored EU deficit standards and subsidy rules.

So what? In making itself a consistent nuisance to other EU members, France is undermining its own basis for international influence: a leadership role in an integrated Europe. "French influence in the EU can no longer be exercised through a mixture of posturing and bullying," writes de Fouloy. "An enlarged Union will be one in which alliance-building, negotiation and compromise are crucial. Paris needs to rethink its attitude towards supranational institutions and its own reluctance to comply with their strictures."