European Union

Sarkozy the Gaul

|

Rumors that France's new president Nicolas Sarkozy is a militant free-marketeer may have been greatly exaggerated:

For all his pro-European symbolism, Sarkozy has shown little willingness to abandon certain nationalist instincts of past French leaders. He has defended EU agricultural subsidies against demands for greater trade liberalization. He has shown little inclination to withdraw from France's aim of creating national champions, particularly in the energy sector. On Thursday, he debated the future of the state-controlled gas company Gaz de France with his prime minister and finance minister. And rather than encouraging globalization, he has appeared to reinforce French fears of unfettered capitalism—for example, by fighting to remove a largely symbolic affirmation of EU competition policy from the revamped treaty agreed last month in Brussels.

On the bright side, Sarkozy is also clashing with the EU over his push for tax cuts. "Pro-European" does not always mean "pro-market," even in France.

[Via Daniel Mitchell.]

NEXT: Balko on BBC Radio

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. “Pro-European” does not always mean “pro-market,”

    Always? Does it ever?

  2. It’s OK for Suez to own tons of water utilities in the US, but the French can’t be bothered to open up their own markets.

  3. It’s OK for Suez to own tons of water utilities in the US, but the French can’t be bothered to open up their own markets.

    American unilateral opening of free markets benefits us tremendously…might even benefit us more when other countries don’t.

    Having a monopoly on free trade is not really all that bad.

  4. For all his pro-European symbolism, Sarkozy has shown little willingness to abandon certain nationalist instincts of past French leaders.

    Eh…the reason why France is so ‘pro-European’ is because the French view themselves as the natural leaders of Europe. The ‘pro-European’ view is largely compatible with French nationalism.

  5. Just so long as France understands that the other natural leaders of Europe are really in charge.

    Es ist Zeit, mit Frankreich zu wiedervereinigen.

  6. Rumors that France’s new president Nicolas Sarkozy is a militant free-marketeer

    By French standards, he is. By US standards, not so much. On matters economic he’s still an improvement over his predecessor, let alone over his competition.

  7. laisse le fusil tomber et enfuis d’une terreur panique…..

  8. VM,

    I find your recent use of Frankish disturbing. Anyway, it’s not so much that the French don’t fight back. They do, especially in WWI. It’s the losing to the Prussians and later the Germans that’s their problem. Thank Dieu for the Americans and British, eh?

  9. joe | May 11, 2007, 9:35pm | #

    Which Democrats, exactly, are criticizing the French for electing the guy with the politics comparable to John Kerry, rather than the candidate with the politics comparable to Ralph Nader?

  10. Stephen Hayes and Curveball (and the neocons et al who were smitten with Sarkozy) were probably the source of the rumor.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.