6th May 2012, 19:33
With the election of a new President..
View Full Version : I wonder how Cameron's "special relationship" with France now stands
6th May 2012, 19:33
With the election of a new President..
6th May 2012, 20:00
With any luck we can stop cosying up to them pretending to be best buddies, when we all know that it's really because the politicians see cuts and savings coming from being more "combined joint".
When will they learn that it is a false economy?
6th May 2012, 20:25
It's just one part of an almost seismic geopolitical shift in Europe at the moment. In the space of a weekend, France has gone Socialist and is threatening to tear up the austerity pact that it was one of the lead negotiators of along with Germany.
The Greeks are also having parliamentary elections and face the prospect of nationalists and Neo-Nazis starting to wield more influence in light of massive public opposition to austerity.
The Italians are also having local elections, which could yield a similar sort of outcome, but at a lower level. On top of all this, the Dutch government collapsed a couple of weeks ago, again almost inextricably linked to austerity.
Like it or not, the general population in Europe doesn't like what the politicians are doing. And neither do the Bond markets, but for an almost diametrically opposite reason to the general population.
If Europe tears up austerity and goes for a more balanced approach, encouraging growth with cuts over a longer period of time, the Bond markets will potentially disagree with this. Then they will do what the politicians have been unable to do and force a solution by demanding higher and higher yields on gilts forcing more countries to the edge of default.
Europe is also politically shifting to the left, leaving the UK increasingly isolated within the EU and amongst the political and economic decision makers. It could be a way for the UK, if it plays it clever, to at least split the French off from the Germans and gain a bit more of a foothold amongst the European decision makers than it has now. All depends how much the Germans want to follow any French decision towards redefining the austerity pact and moving more towards growth.
Either way, Osborne's Plan A starts to look out of kilter with the rest of Europe, especially if the UK doesn't come out of recession next quarter. However, at the highest levels, we are potentially facing a period of serious pan-continental instability, especially if more nationalist parties start to gain influence. I think it was Mark Twain who said that history doesn't repeat itself, but it sure does rhyme. Well, this is starting to look an awful lot like the 1930s, right down to the dodgy international treaties designed to prevent war European war breaking out again and the UK slashing its defence budget.
6th May 2012, 20:48
Very well put, I wonder what will happen with the shared Carriers and military cooperation etc..
6th May 2012, 20:49
Melchett: Well written if worrying reply:D
6th May 2012, 21:58
The carriers etc could be a tricky one. My guess is that Hollande won't do anything in the short term. No point in going at it like a bull in a china shop and raising collective hackles. Instead, I would guess that we will see a few initial noises aimed at showing Europe that Hollande is his own man and won't blindly carry on along Sarkozy's preferred route, followed by gradual changes.
Bear in mind Hollande is a socialist. That means despite his protests that austerity isn't working, deep down his policies are really aimed at lowering retirement ages, ensuring employee terms and conditions and hammering the rich. If military cooperation is seen to boost the French economy through investment in key political areas, I would guess he will go ahead with it. On the other hand, if it costs and doesn't appear to lead to any tangible benefits for constituents - and therefore him as President and the Socialists as the ruling party - then we will see it quietly slip by the way side and Cameron will have to find another plan to ensure the UK has a vaguely semi-credible defence strategy.
6th May 2012, 22:17
Wikipedia has him aligning more with Germany, one gets the feeling Cameron has bet our military future on putting ones eggs in a combined basket, to now find the basket has a hole in it.
François Hollande - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fran%C3%A7ois_Hollande)
Foreign policy: supports the withdrawal of French troops present in Afghanistan by the end of 2012.
European politics: aims to conclude a new contract of Franco-German partnership and he advocates the adoption of a Directive on the protection of public services. Proposes closer Franco-German partnership: "an acceleration of the establishment of a Franco-German civic service, the creation of a Franco-German research office, the creation of a Franco-German industrial fund to finance common competitiveness clusters (transport, energy or environment) and the establishment of a common military headquarters."
7th May 2012, 02:03
Spotted your pattern Constane.Go away .
7th May 2012, 08:36
I don't remember Mitterand (Hollande's ex-boss and hero) cutting investment in the armed forces...........................
7th May 2012, 08:43
I don't remember Mitterand (Hollande's ex-boss and hero) cutting investment in the armed forces
Of course not. Military equipment is one of the mainstays of France's econmoy and pride. They could hardly equip their Armée de l'Air with second hand Migs!
7th May 2012, 09:36
France has gone Socialist and is threatening to tear up the austerity pact
Pretty much as happened when the last socialist French president, Mitterand, was elected. Within a couple of years, austerity was back. My guess is that it will be so again - the alternative is the collapse of the Euro, as France defaults on its massive debt (might not be the worst thing for the French, mind).
7th May 2012, 09:53
Somde very valid point from M, however :
Europe is also politically shifting to the left, leaving the UK increasingly isolated within the EU and amongst the political and economic decision makers From what I understand from UK last local elections, the shift is also happening there.
All depends how much the Germans want to follow any French decision towards redefining the austerity pact and moving more towards growth. It seems they are already changing minds as Merkel just lost a Lander and is facing upcoming elections...
If Europe tears up austerity and goes for a more balanced approach, encouraging growth with cuts over a longer period of time, the Bond markets will potentially disagree with this. There are some other ways : controlled inflation, Euro devaluation, all things the US are already doing (yes those capitalist free market liberals!)
Well, this is starting to look an awful lot like the 1930s, right down to the dodgy international treaties designed to prevent war European war breaking out again and the UK slashing its defence budget
Let's try not to reach the Godwin Point this early shall we?
7th May 2012, 11:08
Hardly at the Godwin point yet, but to ignore the parallels in history between now and the early 20th Century because of the Godwin principal would be somewhat stupid.
7th May 2012, 18:16
I agree, the circumstances of the the Nazi rise to power were extraordinarily similar...unbearable debt burden and a falling standard of living enforced by foreign powers. I'm not saying "Be afraid, be very afraid", but perhaps this is a sign that the Greek tragedy needs a new approach; especially considering the largest party only won 18% of the vote, compared to Golden Dawn's 8% - that margin of popularity is a little too narrow for my liking, especially if things get worse in Greece, which now seems inevitable.
7th May 2012, 18:35
Indeed - it is looking very likely that Greece will need to hold a new election.
From the BBC News website:-
Greece's centre-right leader, Antonis Samaras, has said he cannot form a coalition government, hours after he was given a mandate by the president.
His New Democracy, which backed the last EU bailout, emerged as the biggest party after Sunday's election, but he said a coalition was "impossible".
The Greek result, and France electing an anti-austerity president, have caused concern among EU leaders.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned that austerity measures must continue.
Mr Samaras said his party had done "everything we could" to form a government.
But he said it was impossible, so handed back the mandate.
President Karolos Papoulias has now arranged a meeting for Tuesday morning with Alexis Tsipras, who leads the anti-bailout Syriza leftist coalition, which came second in Sunday's vote.
Mr Tsipras will be given the right to start coalition talks, but analysts say he is likely to struggle to reach the numbers needed for a cross-party majority.
The BBC's Mark Lowen in Athens says Greece's political crisis is deepening, and the likelihood of fresh elections is growing ever stronger.
Despite emerging as the biggest party, New Democracy's support slipped from 33.5% in the last election to less than 19% on Sunday.
Support for the centre-left Pasok, which also supported the austerity measures, plummeted from 43% to just over 13%.
The major winners were anti-bailout groups - Syriza, with 16.8%, and the ultra-nationalist Golden Dawn, with almost 7%.
8th May 2012, 21:35
Don't forget - Mitterand and Marcel Dassault were blood brothers; the current Dassault 'policy' has been to significantly fund Sarkosy - we'll have to wait and see where Dassault now puts their money, given the need for Government support to haul some very big (Company breaking) deals over the finishing line by honouring some of the 'unpublished' attachments.
9th May 2012, 06:54
Primae facie, there are parallels between the Europe of today and Europe of the 1930s. However, in the 1930s, Europe was dominated by dictatorships, staunch trade protectionist policies (the only free market existed between Britain and her Empire L), rigorous border controls, deep suspicion between States (engendered in part from the Great War), entrenched anti-Semitism (not just in Germany, either) and a proxy war in Spain.
Clearly, Europe is in deep, deep economic poo, but it is beyond the realms of any reason to imagine, for example, the Bundeswehr saddling up, storming through the Balkans and seizing Greek assets (again) so that they will stick to their Austerity Plan (ditto Spain, Portugal, Italy…). We will see economic Nationalism (protectionism by another name) to protect jobs and votes; we will see even greater pressure on migrants and internal (EU) migration policies, we will see greater civil unrest, protest and increased polarising of politics and politicians. We might see return, indeed spread, of the Anni di Piombo intra-State terrorism that characterised Italy during much of the post-war period. But not inter-State conflict.
But of course I could be wrong. That’s why I’ve stocked my cellar with food, weapons, Kruggerands and D-cell batteries. They ain’t gonna take me alive…