Wednesday, February 26, 2003

France Ignores EU Budget Rules

As the Financial Times reports, France is refusing to make the necessary budget cuts in order to bring its deficit in line with EU rules. To date, only two other countries - Germany and Portugal - have found themselves in contravention of the EU's 3% of GDP deficit limit. However, in this situation, both Germany and Portugal took the necessary austerity measures to bring their deficits back into compliance with EU rules. Thus far, France has refused to do so. Now, as one who is not particularly enamored by the EU, I can't get that upset when an individual country asserts its national sovereignty in the face of EU regulations. On the other hand, there is something a bit odd about France unilaterally bucking EU rules when it was the very country that was so determined that the US forego unilateralism and take the case to attack Iraq before the UN Security Council. And considering Chirac's recent chastisement of East European countries for compromising the unity of the European (read Franco-German) position on Iraq, it's difficult to understand exactly how France's intransigence on this matter can be seen as a model of European unity.

Finally, we must remember that France sees itself as the political head of the emerging EU, an EU meant to serve as a humanitarian counter to presumed American militarism. It would seem that this head leads not by example but by fiat. Do as I say, not as I do.

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