French President Francois Hollande is in a world of political hurt right now in terms of his failure to reignite the stagnating French economy, his flailing administration’s poor ethical reputation, and his attempts to simultaneously satisfy both his campaign pledges and his EU-promises, it looks like his party is thinking about deploying the ol’ unite-behind-a-common-outside-enemy tactic to try and rally the troops. That’s right: German Chancellor Angela Merkel, because all of these debt crises and austerity measures are totally all her fault, you guys! The Guardian reports:
French president François Hollande’s governing Socialist party has delivered a blistering assault on Germany’s chancellor, Angela Merkel, accusing her of causing the single currency crisis that has been tearing Europe apart for more than three years, of acting selfishly and intransigently in her own political and German national interest, and demanding a “showdown” with the “chancellor of austerity”. …
The French socialists’ draft paper contends that Europe is being run by a rightwing Anglo-German cabal dominated by liberal free trade interests with the rest of the world and austerity within the EU.
It calls into question the Franco-German alliance that has been at the heart of the EU for as long as it has existed and argues that France alone of the big EU countries has a government that is genuinely pro-European.
Merkel, as well as Hollande’s predecessor, Nicolas Sarkozy, and David Cameron come in for severe criticism. Merkel and Sarkozy, the draft declares, managed to turn a small crisis that started in Greece more than three years ago into a European disaster.
Yes, because it is totally the austerity measures that are causing these tough time and not at all — oh, I don’t know — the wildly, recklessly irresponsible years of spending binges that plunged these euro nations into catastrophic debt levels and the failed euro experiment, maybe? But Merkel wasn’t the only European leader at which they directed their anger; David Cameron’s British government took a beating for — wait for it — their “Thatcherite” leanings. Oof.
“The [European] project is today battered by a marriage of convenience between the Thatcherite leanings of the current British prime minister – who only conceives of a Europe à la carte and of rebates – and the selfish intransigence of Chancellor Merkel, who thinks of nothing but the deposits of German savers, the trade balance recorded by Berlin and her electoral future.” …
But arguably the greatest strains are between Germany and France, the eurozone’s biggest economies and traditionally the joint motor of EU co-operation. François Fillon, prime minister under Nicolas Sarkozy, Mr Hollande’s centre-right predecessor, said on Friday during a visit to Berlin that relations between the two had “rarely been so bad”.
This is all from a leaked draft policy paper that ostensibly wasn’t meant for public consumption, and the “Socialist party officials said personal remarks about Ms Merkel would be removed from the final policy document” — but the poisonously zero-sum mindset is all too evident.