Wednesday 22 September 2010

Sarkozy and Berlusconi: Helping or hurting their countries?

One of the questions in the wake of the French “Romagate” affair is how it affects the international standing of France. Regards citoyens republished an article by Christian Lequesne in Le Monde: L’attitude du pouvoir vis-à-vis de l’Europe isole la France au lieu de renforcer son rôle.

Lequesne, who is director of CERI (Centre for International Studies and Research), identifies four different elements in president Nicolas Sarkozy’s intergovernmental view of the European Union. This view is counter-productive, and it leads to isolation.

Thomas Friang and Solène Meissonnier speak about an insolent sovereignty in Le Taurillon, when they predict that the Roma policy of the French government will affect the building of Europe, as well as France’s international standing: Une souveraineté insolente.

The only other major EU member state to give the French government clamorous support is Silvio Berlusconi’s Italy. Therefore it is interesting to see how Ferruccio Pastore deals with Paris and Rome in Affari Internazionali: L’asse Parigi-Roma scuote le fondamenta dell’Ue.

According to Pastore the split at the European Council concerned a fundamental question about EU citizenship: does it belong to the poor. The axis between Paris and Rome looks like a precarious alliance between two leaders in crisis. The opened crack concerns the very foundations of the community project.

Also in Affari Internazionali, Bruno Nascimbene writes about the Roma and EU citizenship: La disputa dei rom e i diritti dei cittadini dell’Ue.

Nascimbene discusses EU citizenship, discrimination, free movement, ‘voluntary’ repatriation and the requirement to decide on a case by case basis.

All in all, it looks like Sarkozy and Berlusconi have harmed their countries much more than they have helped.

Ralf Grahn

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