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Jay Currie

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6/02/2005

French Pretense

It's freebe day at the Globe and Mail and Jeff Simpson weighs in on Europe:

But the No vote was still more: that France, so mighty in its own mythology and so proud of creating the original European Community, sensed that this new Europe of 25 (and to be expanded further) was no longer an entity France could control, but rather one that would increasingly control France.

From being an extension of French power and pretense, the EU had become a threat to both. Rather than reminding the French of their greatness, it underscored their weakness.

They could sense the shift during the debate over Iraq when the Franco-German alliance held, but the Italian, Spanish, British, Dutch, Danish and Polish governments dissented. Iraq exposed the myth of a European counterweight to the U.S., and nowhere was that more painful than in France.
globe and mail
He also points out:
n France, le libéralisme means the modern-day equivalent of 19th-century economic liberalism: free markets, free trade, individual self-help. It's the dogma practised, according to its French critics, by les Anglo-Saxons, notably the British and the dreaded Americans.

That Britain has an unemployment rate one-quarter that of France, a higher growth rate and a better inward investment record doesn't matter. Somehow, in the French mind, the British live in a heartless, cold economic climate, a milder variation of the dog-eat-dog capitalism of the United States.
The poor French have simply dug deeply into denial. Of course there were very good reasons to reject the Euro Constitution; but those were not the reasons which powered the French rejection.