Wednesday, March 10, 2004

France Continues to Fall

Today's le Figaro has a number of stories about the declining state of France's economic and financial situation. Figures published yesterday on the public administration finances show that French national debt reached 4.1% of GDP in 2003. To make matters worse, France, like Germany (and unlike most other European nations) has witnessed almost total stagnation in economic growth. As it stands now, France and Germany are turning into the economic basketcases of Europe.

Apart from the national implications are the threats posed to French influence in the EU. France continues to float precariously above the 3% of GDP debt limit placed on member nations by the EU. Many have complained about this level as unrealistic (though other EU nations seem able to meet it), but as former French auditor Roger Fauroux points out, if it weren't for the EU and the Euro, the weakness of France's finances would be even more evident.

This puts France in an increasingly shaky position in Europe. Many other nations are tiring of the French inability to control that country's finances. Over the past few months, I've reported on a number of French thinkers arguing that France has entered what looks to be a protracted and irreversible decline in a number of areas. Figures like these only serve to confirm that view.

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